Books: Less Is Mao

RED GUARD: THE POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF DAI HSIAO-AI by Gordon A. Bennett and Ronald N. Montaperto. 267 pages. Doubleday. $5.95.

As an old revolutionary, Mao Tse-tung is obsessed with the knowledge that revolutionary sacrifice swiftly settles into slothful bureaucracy and the status quo, unless the people are regularly—and forcefully—stirred up. "Revolutions and children," he confided to André Malraux in 1965, "have to be trained if they are to be properly brought up ... Youth must be put to the test." Less than a year afterwards, a curious convulsion known as "the Cultural Revolution" was under way.

Viewed from the outside, that vast ideological...

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