Jonathan Mirsky, The Times Literary Supplement, January
"Endicott achieved the nearly-impossible: permission for a foreigner to study a village in rural China....the results, filled with analysis and unique information about village life over many years, is one of the most interesting currently available books on China...a distinct, if qualified, hymn of praise to Mao, and to the Cultural Revolution, and a condemnation of the post-Mao China created by Deng Xiaoping. Endicott's juxtaposition of the two periods provides insight into the dilemmas of Dengist China: uneven prospertiy, corruption and meagre planning. Endicott knows how to expose the realities hidden behind the rural idyll that tourists think they see."
Delia Davin, History Workshop Journal, v.
28, Autumn 1989:
"The villages of China have gone through almost bewildering social, political and institutional change since 1949....The voices of the peasants come through well and Endicott manages to convey some of the complexity of recent history....Red Earth should be read by all those with an interest in the grass-roots history of rural China."
Eliazbeth Croll, Journal of Peasant Studies, No.
"...very competent and sensitive study draws attention to the complexity of the political process within a single village. In documenting through interview the sequence of mass movements and rectifications aimed at consciously reshaping the political and economic institutions of the village and redefining social relations, Endicott is also focusing on rural policy and its implementation. His interviews contribute insights into the expectations and experiences of commune and village cadres as they receive new policy directives, communicate their content and set about implementing them among their kin, neighbours and friends within the village....The book has many humourous and sympathetic characters, a narrative and local colourful environment."
Anita Chan, Pacific Affairs, Spring
"Red Earth distinguishes itself by the large amount of statistical data presented which chronicles, in concrete terms, the economic development of the village under Maoism and its transition under Dengism....Red Earth will probably be loved or disdained for its controversial stance. Endicott does not reject Maoism and embrace the anticollectivist reforms, as is the vogue today. His study cautions against such a simplistic perspective..."
Linda Jaivin, Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong),
30 March 1989:
"Just when you thought Western romantic revolutionaries had stopped writing books about China or had finally caught up with the party line, Red Earth has appeared to strike not so much red terror as red tedium into the hearts of readers....not only just a shoddy and fundamentally dishonest work. It is also profoundly anti-humanistic."
Donald Willmott, Canadian Far Eastern Newsletter, No.
392, December 1988:
"If I were asked to recommend just one book to provide an understanding of China since Liberation, Red Earth would be it."
Cheri Smith, CHRY-Radio York, Friday Arts, 3
"...the reader senses the enjoyment on his return to rural China. His descriptions catch the sunlight on the leaves, the dusty earth, the rushing water of the local canal transporting the reader with his enthusiasm. There are photographs from the author's private collection as well as drawings contributed by his wife, Lena Wilson, a Canadian artist. The villagers have come a long way in a relatively short time and we can thank Professor Endicott for his scholarly yet very readable account of events."
Robert Beynon, Vancouver Sun, 3
"The fascinating insights gained by Endicott's interviews and his fluid, descriptive writing style make the book a fascinating read.
"The book also challenges traditional notions of Chinese development by noting the improvements to rural life during the Cultural Revolution and by noting the problems with the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping that have been greatly praised by the Western media."
Stephan Feuchtwang, China Now,
No. 128, Spring 1989:
"Village studies of the People's Republic of China are rare. This one joins just five or six others in English. But it is unique in the depth of its historical narrative, combined with sociological detail....In what perespective does Endicott tell this story? It is told with an eye to the ambiguities, but with a basic admiration for socialist progress and conjecture about the rise of a new rich peasant class."
Publishers' Weekly, April
" Born in Shanghai to a long line of Canadian missionaries to China, Endicott, a history professor at
Ontario University, grew up in China. He left before the Communist revolution, but returned for
extended periods in the '80s to record the impact upon one rural village of four decades of
sweeping land reforms and social and institutional restructuring under the Great Leap Forward
and the Cultural Revolution. Detailed research and empathy for the Chinese inform the author's
observations and appraisals of changes in public health, schools, women's emancipation and
family planning, etc. More memorable, however, are his realistic portraits and the oral histories
given by commune members, including group leaders, midwives and doctors. Endicott's
sensitivity to the people's life rhythms, bred of intimate and cordial associations highly unusual
for an outsider, allows him a unique perspective. (Apr.)"