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Drawing on extensive interviews in China, this biography of the life and times of a key Chinese intellectual, known in China as a major twentieth-century historian and democratic movement participant who cooperated with Communist leaders in the formative years of the People's Republic, carries us to the ironic tragedy of his being targeted by Mao in the opening prelude to the Cultural Revolution. Focusing on Wu Han's life, the biographical narrative depicts the momentous changes in Chinese society and politics during the twentieth century and brings insight to issues of free expression festering in China today.

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