Zheng Lu Peng, the Beijing agent in Performance Anomalies, is a product of the Cultural Revolution, his well-educated parents having been humiliated and then beaten to death by the Red Guards. The decade-long frenzy of the Cultural Revolution is revealed in photographs by Li Zhensheng in Red-Color News Soldier, edited by Robert Pledge. Accurately billed as a “secret archive hidden for 40 years,” it exposes one of the least documented and most destructive periods of modern history. Shock alert: contains executions.
Scarlet Memorial, by Zheng Yi, has been described by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times as “the most painful and damning and haunting indictment of Maoist China that one can imagine.” The subtitle of this history of the Cultural Revolution says it all: “Tales of Cannibalism in Modern China.”
Although all meaningful discussion of the Cultural Revolution is banned within the People’s Republic, restricting source material, two Western scholars have produced a comprehensive history: Mao’s Last Revolution, by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, reviewed here:
Also suggested are first-hand accounts that have appeared outside of the People’s Republic: The Revenge of Heaven: Journal of a Young Chinese, by Ken Ling (under pseudonym):
Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution, by Gao Yuan:
A heartbreaking family history from the Cultural Revolution appeared in The Guardian newspaper in March 2013, by reporter Tania Branigan: “China’s Cultural Revolution: son’s guilt over mother he sent to her death”:
Medium.com published an article by Victor Robert Lee, author of Performance Anomalies, on one family’s tragic experience during the Cultural Revolution: