The key role of intellectuals in Mao's China has confounded Western scholars. Were they potential dissidents or actual servants of Chinese communism? The Chinese Communist Party could not have taken over China or governed it without a coalition of forces that included the intellectuals who articulated its goals and administered its complex bureaucracy. Deng Tuo (1912-66) - founding editor of People's Daily, accomplished traditional
scholar, and critical commentator on political issues - has served as an example of this confusion. His life illustrates an experience of intellectual service in Mao's China that contributes to our understanding
of the rise, successes, and major crises of Chinese Marxism in the twentieth century. It also introduces us to the world that produced the current generation of intellectual leaders in China. This biography is a social history of intellectuals as agents in China's socialist revolution. It places Deng Tuo's writings and ideas in rich context of his social experience as a member of the Communist bureaucracy and as an elite artist and aesthete. The tension between service to
politics and service to culture was ultimately disastorous for Deng and for China's revolution: his ghost haunts the halls of power in Beijing today.
`fascinating ... Cheek is spot-on in his assessment of Deng Tuo as a loyal critic or censor ... Cheek's excellent work is much more than just an intellectual biography of the first casualty of the Cultural Revolution. ... magnificent ...subtle analysis ... thought-provoking arguments and the intellectual sophistication ... work of great charm.'
...masterful study of Deng Tuo. One of the great stengths of this impressive book is Cheeks' subtle and convincing analysis of the intellectual with the Communist Party. This is an essential book for anyone interested in intellectuals in China. It is also a rich source of information about the development and operation of China's propaganda system and the way in which the media was used for political purposes. Cheek tells a fascinating and wonderfully
researched story about a complex and interesting man whose life reflected in so many ways the political currents of his time. Cheek moves between these different dimensions of his narrative with skill and
impressive control. I recommend this book highly. It is one of the best books I have read on China in recent years. - Nick Knight. China Information. Summer 1998.
`Well-documented, clearly organized, carefully research, and beautifully written, this book is a great contribution to the study of contemporary China generally and the study of Chinese intellectuals in particular.'
Guangqui Xu, Journal of Asian History 33 (1999) 1
`Cheek's substantial monograph adds a great deal to knowledge of Deng'
E.H. Kaplan, Choice (10/98)