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Synopsis

This compelling book provides a vivid firsthand account of the student demonstrations and massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Uniquely placed as a Western observer drawn into active participation through Chinese friends in the uprising, Philip J Cunningham offers a remarkable day-by-day account of Beijing students desperately trying to secure the most coveted political real estate in China in the face of ever-more daunting government countermoves. Tiananmen Moon takes the reader into the thick of the 1989 protests while also following the parallel response of an unprepared but resourceful Western media.

In this revised and expanded edition, Cunningham recounts rare vignettes about life in Tiananmen Square under student leadership, including previously unpublished material. There is an account of the Goddess of Democracy being unveiled, a whimsical trip to the countryside that ends up on a collision course with PLA troops readying for attack, the tale of a near riot when a reporter is mistaken for Gorbachev, the saga of a tearful leader who quits and dictates her last will and testament to the author, and a dramatic account of futile resistance in the face of an unforgiving crackdown. The book chronicles the opportunistic and awkward tango between naive student activists and jaded foreign journalists, in which, after a month of mutual courting, the tables turn and the now-savvy students watch the journalists, seduced and confused, run circles just trying to keep up.

During the hunger strike under the light of a full moon, China bares its conflicted soul to the world, the mournful cry for reform amplified by the footsteps of a million peaceful marchers. This remarkable testament to a searing month that changed China forever serves as a witness to the rise and fall of an uprising, capturing the plaintive and lyrical beauty of a dream that endures and continues to haunt the country today.

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