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Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962

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Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Between 1958 and 1962, China descended into hell. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up to and overtake Britain in less than 15 years The experiment ended in the greatest catastrophe the country had ever known, destroying tens of millions of lives." So opens Frank Dikötter's riveting, magnificently detailed chronicle of an era in Chinese history much speculated about but never before fully documented because access to Communist Party archives has long been restricted to all but the most trusted historians. A new archive law has opened up thousands of central and provincial documents that "fundamentally change the way one can study the Maoist era." Dikötter makes clear, as nobody has before, that far from being the program that would lift the country among the world's superpowers and prove the power of Communism, as Mao imagined, the Great Leap Forward transformed the country in the other direction. It became the site not only of "one of the most deadly mass killings of human history,"--at least 45 million people were worked, starved, or beaten to death--but also of "the greatest demolition of real estate in human history," as up to one-third of all housing was turned into rubble). The experiment was a catastrophe for the natural world as well, as the land was savaged in the maniacal pursuit of steel and other industrial accomplishments. In a powerful mesghing of exhaustive research in Chinese archives and narrative drive, Dikötter for the first time links up what happened in the corridors of power-the vicious backstabbing and bullying tactics that took place among party leaders-with the everyday experiences of ordinary people, giving voice to the dead and disenfranchised. His magisterial account recasts the history of the People's Republic of China.

About the Author

Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Professor of the Modern History of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is a key proponent of studying the history of China in global perspective, and has published a series of innovative books, from his classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Univ. Stanford Press 1992) to the controversial Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China (Univ. Chicago Press 2004). He lives in Hong Kong.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802779236
Author:
Dikotter, Frank
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Author:
Diktter, Frank
Subject:
China
Subject:
General
Subject:
World History - China
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » China » General
History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » China

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