Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China - Jung Chang
The first impression this book made on me was, can this family never get a break? If not being beaten by occupying Japanese or robbed by Kuomintang gangsters, they’re trying to navigate the shifting politics of the Communist administration the author’s parents were officials in -- there were sometimes-nonsensical orders from the top and suspicions and intrigues within the departments, all of it exploding into madness during the Cultural Revolution.

I realized that some of the atrocities described startled me more than others; I figured out that the ones that made me say "this is completely nuts" were those with an element of fanaticism involved, since self-interest was easier to understand. Thus, awful as Kuomintang corruption was, Japanese racism was awful and bizarre; and so were deeds carried out with sincerity in the name of the glorious proletarian revolution, or inspired by lifelong worship of Mao.

This is a book written with a lot of hindsight, pulling together things the author didn’t know about when she was living through those times, and containing analysis of the political situation (terribly depressing in its account of the effects of 25 years of Mao’s megalomania). But it’s also personal enough to bring the analysis to life.