We Served the People


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We Served the People: My Mother’s Stories by Emei Burell

Hardcover – Archaia – Apr 2020 – 144 pages

A collection of moving stories passed from mother to daughter recounting life during China’s Cultural Revolution.

In China, an entire generation’s most formative years took place in remote rural areas when city-kids were sent to the countryside to become rusticated youth and partake in Mao’s mandated Great Leap Forward.

Debut cartoonist Emei Burell breathes new life into the stories her mother shared with her of growing up during mid-1960s Communist China. In an inspiring tale, her mother recounts how she ended up as one of the few truck-driving women during the Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside movement, which sought to increase agricultural outreach and spur social and ideological change amongst youth.

Burell’s stunning illustrations honor her mother’s courage, strength, and determination during a decade of tremendous political upheaval, where millions of lives were lost, and introduces us to a young Burell in a new era of self-discovery.


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