Reviews

 

New York Times, 23 May 2014  One of the best analyses of the impact of Tiananmen throughout China in the years since 1989.

 

New York Review of Books, 5 June 2014   Lim tells her stories briskly and clearly. She moves nimbly between the individuals' narratives and broader reflections, interspersing both with short, poignant vignettes.

 

Financial Times, 30 May 2014 Lim’s outstanding book skilfully interweaves a wide range of interviews in China with an account of the protests in Beijing and ends with the fullest report to date of the crackdown in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where dozens of people were beaten to death.

 

The Economist, 31 May 2014  [Lim] offers a series of meticulously (and often daringly) reported portraits of participants, the events of that night and what has followed.

 

LA Review of Books, 4 June 2014  STUNNING and important...The People's Republic of Amnesia provides a powerful antidote to historical deception and a voice to those isolated by the truth.

 

Wall Street Journal, 30 May 2014 Lim presents a sequence of sensitive, skillfully drawn portraits of individuals whose lives were changed by 1989...These portraits show us how the party tightly constrains those who defy it, but they also depict determined resistance and even suggest an optimism among those most directly affected by the events of 1989...[This book] enhances our sense of the human costs of suppressing the past.

 

The Telegraph, UK, 2 June 2014 The People’s Republic of Amnesia by Louisa Lim, a veteran commentator on China, is particularly strong on the horror of 1989 and its aftermath. Her book features an extraordinary array of witnesses: a soldier-turned-artist who observed first hand the planning and implementation of the military crackdown.

 

Prospect Magazine, UK, 22 May 2014 The title of this book by NPR’s Beijing correspondent, Louisa Lim, undersells its scope and ambition. Lim does not simply revisit the Tiananmen Square student protests of 1989, although she vividly describes how the events unfolded, beginning in April with student sit-ins and ending with the June massacre by the army, which left hundreds, possibly thousands, of civilians dead. Instead, the real subject of the book is the legacy of Tiananmen over the past 25 years.

Seattle Times, 16 June 2014 This book represents hard work and persistence by an international journalist and courage by her Chinese sources. These are stories readers will find difficult to consign to the memory hole.

Irish Independent, Ireland, 16 June 2014 Fascinating new book exploring the realities and legacies of these events on their 25th anniversary.

 

Literary Review, 14 June 2014 The book is an excellent investigation into how nearly everyone in China has managed to internalise government censorship...It starts brilliantly with the recollections of trendy artist Chen Guang, then a 17-year-old soldier, who was dispatched incognito in a public bus piled with guns and ammo for the troops hiding out in the Great Hall of the People.

The Times, 21 June 2014 Louisa Lim's book is haunted by the voices of those who remember and tell her their stories. By breaking the silence, they represent a collective memory that has been officially repressed. Ms. Lim opens yet another wound – the crackdown by the army in Chengdu, ‘the other Tiananmen’, also in June 1989, less publicised but no less brutal.