This is what I’m currently reading; Deng Xiaoping’s biography by Ezra Vogel.
I actually bought this book two and a half years when I was working in Shanghai. I love biographies because of how it brings you into the world and mind of the person. You may not agree with the mind of the person but biographies help you appreciate and accept their worldview. I didn’t have the time to read this book when I bought it but I also didn’t have the mental capacity to appreciate the book back then. Since being married to The Husband (who’s Chinese) and having more appreciation for literary works after my time in seminary, I can suddenly see what an amazing piece of art this book actually is.
Right now from reading the book, I’m not certain if I love Deng Xiaoping or Ezra Vogel. I’m amazed at how Vogel laboured over his research work, interviewing hundreds of individuals that include world leaders, to gain enough perspectives of Deng Xiaoping to write about him as objectively as possible. He even conducted many of his interviews in Chinese directly! I remembered thinking how expensive this book was when I bought it but now I think it is worth far more than what I paid. Vogel certainly deserves a lot, a lot of respect.
Last night, in reading the early days of Deng Xiaoping’s political life, I told The Husband that were I to be born in Deng Xiaoping’s lifetime and circumstances, I too would be a Communist. I too might have ended up rueful of its failure once the catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution concluded itself. But it was a force of history that just simply was and I would have been swept up along with it as the whole of China was.
I haven’t got to the controversial parts of his career like the Tiannanmen Massacre but The Husband has already given me instructions to summarise my readings to him when I get there. There are plenty of versions told of that incident and The Husband is just as interested to know how Vogel would portray this incident in this book.
All in all, I’m quite pleased having this book to draw me back into the pleasure of reading I’ve lost from being busy with anxieties of life. I hope I will finish it with great satisfaction!