Upon its initial publication, Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng's searing memoir of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, was an instant international best seller. This phenomenal, unforgettable book captured the attention of the world just as Communism started to collapse, and is considered a twentieth-century classic, both for Cheng's incisive writing and the light it throws on totalitarian history.
In August 1966, a group of Red Guards ransacked Nien Cheng's home. Her background made her an obvious target. Educated at the London School of Economics, the widow of an official of Chiang Kai-shek's regime, and an employee of Shell Oil, Cheng enjoyed comforts that few Chinese could afford. When she refused to confess that she was an enemy of the state, she was imprisoned and placed in solitary confinement, where she remained for more than six years.
Life and Death in Shanghai is the powerful story of Cheng's imprisonment, of the deprivation she endured, of her heroic resistance, and of her quest for justice when she was released. An astounding portrait of one woman's courage, Life and Death in Shanghai is also a penetrating account of a terrifying chapter in twentieth-century history.