Monumental . . . Yang now brings his reputation as one of China's most daring historical writers to another open wound in modern Chinese history, the Cultural Revolution . . . The World Turned Upside Down is a formidable work of research and analysis, and Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian's lucid translation is a major achievement . . . Read this book to be reminded about one of China's darkest periods, and to mourn that so much of its modern history is still, ironically and tragically, told outside the country's own borders.
–Rana Mitter, Financial Times
Rather than being chastened, Yang has done it again . . . Yang's book has no heroes, only swarms of combatants engaged in a "repetitive process in which the different sides took turns enjoying the upper hand and losing power, being honored and imprisoned, and purging and being purged"–an inevitable cycle, he believes, in a totalitarian system. Yang . . . benefited from the recent work of other undaunted chroniclers, whom he credits for many chilling new details about how the violence in Beijing spread to the countryside."
–Barbara Demick, The Atlantic
"A potent and sprawling history of the Cultural Revolution, a little-understood and catastrophic decade in modern Chinese history . . . Essential . . . [The World Turned Upside Down
] belongs alongside The Gulag Archipelago
as a denunciation of tyranny."–Kirkus Reviews
"Fanatical ideology, cut-throat intrigue and vast bloodshed roil China in this sweeping history of the Cultural Revolution . . . This exhaustive and sometimes horrifying account demonstrates how deranged governments become when unconstrained by democracy and individual rights."–Publishers Weekly
Yang's book offers the most comprehensive journalistic account yet of contemporary China's foundational trauma. . . [he] describes, in often overwhelming detail, the intricate internal power struggle that eventually erupted into the Cultural Revolution.–Pankaj Mishra, The New Yorker