More than 45 years ago, Chairman Mao Zedong launched the tumultuous Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which led to the destruction of millions of Chinese lives. It was a tragedy of unparalleled proportions, and yet the Communist Party continues to honor Mao and refuses to allow in-depth study of the Cultural Revolution.

A new book, "Forged in Purgatory," by Wang Zhongfang, sheds light on just how the Cultural Revolution affected not just the main targets of the power struggle but countless incidental figures. Wang was at one time the political secretary of Luo Ruiqing, a leading general and one of the main targets of the Cultural Revolution.

This is a remarkable book, a labor of love which was first written in Chinese, translated by members of the Pamir Law Group in Taiwan, then edited and published by the group's managing partner, Nicholas V. Chen, who became a friend of Wang.