Red-Color News Soldier is a visual record of an infamous, misunderstood period of modern history that has been largely hidden from the public eye, both within China and abroad. Li Zhensheng (b.1940) - a photo journalist living in the northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang - managed, at great personal risk, to hide and preserve for decades over 20,000 stills. As a party-approved photographer for The Heilongjiang Daily, he had been granted unusual access to capture events during the Cultural Revolution. This account remained largely unseen until its publication in 2003.
Red-Color News Soldier includes over 400 photographs and a running diary of Li's experience. The images are powerful representations of the turbulent period, including photographs of unruly Red Guard rallies and relentless public denunciations and Mao's rural re-education centres, as well as portraits prominent participants in the Cultural Revolution.
The boards are in white card within a tight-fitting bright red plastic dust cover. Red-Color News Soldier and the name of the author are written in gold, within a rectangular border, on the front of the plastic cover. Beneath is 'Phaidon' in another shade of red in the bottom left-hand corner. The author, title and Phaidon's logo are also reproduced on the spine in gold, while the back board is plain apart from the name of the publisher. All are in very good condition, without bumps and creases.
There is a half-width paper dust jacket, around the boards, with the title and author in a border, but this time in red, against a background of one of the black & white photographs. It states, 'Secret archive hidden for 40 years, the unseen history of the cultural revolution,' in a circle, and, 'A Chinese photographer's odyssey through the cultural revolution,' at the bottom. A blurb on the reverse adds, 'Introduction by Yale University professor Jonathan D. Spence, eminent scholar of Chinese History.' Unfortunately, an approx. 2cm x 1cm piece has been torn from the bottom of the spine of this jacket, and there is a 4cm x 3.5mm tear on the fore edge.
The book hinges are strong and the binding is tight. All of the pages are clean, un-marked and without bumps/dog-ears.