The Overthrow of Heaven and Earth — A History of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

The renowned author Wang Meng once said: ‘Who is able to explain and advance our ability to sum up, from either a political or scholarly perspective, the decade of the “Cultural Revolution” that began in 1966? Chinese people ought to be taking on this task. The Communist Party of China ought to be taking on this task. Chinese academics ought to be taking on this task. The Chinese people have this responsibility to history and the world. China is duty-bound to do this. To accurately, and without the slightest bit of obfuscation, evaluate the “Cultural Revolution” from every angle — this would also be China’s contribution to the history of humankind.’

The ‘task’ of which Wang Meng spoke has a great allure for me, and I have long been eager to tackle it. Although this is an exceedingly complex and dangerous territory, once I started I was filled with excitement. This ‘task’ turned out to be of monumental scale; it has taken all I can give just to lay down a small patch of brickwork.

— translated by Linda Jaivin

著名作家王蒙说过:“谁能解释与进一步从政治上从学理上总结1966年开始的十年‘文革’? 中国人应该干这个活。中国共产党应该干这个活。中国学者应该干这个活。这是中国人的历史与国际责任。中国责无旁贷。正确地毫不含糊地总结‘文革’的方方面面,这也是中国对人类历史的贡献。”

王蒙说的“这个活”, 对我有极大的诱惑力,我早就跃跃欲试。虽然这是一个极其复杂和危险的领域, 一旦进入, 我就充满激情。 显然,“这个活”是一项大工程,我能够为这项工程添一小片砖瓦,也算尽力了.