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Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China (08 Edition)by Ralph A. Thaxton Jr.
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
This book documents how China 's rural people remember the great famine of Maoist rule, which proved to be the worst famine in modern world history. Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., sheds new light on how China 's socialist rulers drove rural dwellers to hunger and starvation, on how powerless villagers formed resistance to the corruption and coercion of collectivization, and on how their hidden and contentious acts, both individual and concerted, allowed them to survive and escape the predatory grip of leaders and networks in the thrall of Mao 's authoritarian plan for a full-throttle realization of communism a plan that engendered an unprecedented disaster for rural families. Based on his study of a rural village 's memories of the famine, Thaxton argues that these memories persisted long after the events of the famine and shaped rural resistance to the socialist state, both before and after the post-Mao era of reform.
Book News Annotation:
In 1959 the Chinese government took a "Great Leap Forward," collectivizing rural farms for greater productivity. It was meant to provide food for both the farmers and the growing number of people working in industry. However, the project backfired. Officials overstated production amounts in order to make quotas or to impress their superiors. Collectivization went against thousands of years of family-centered life. Respectful protests went unheeded and strident ones were firmly suppressed. The result was a famine in which some thirty million people died. Thaxton, who is chairman of the East Asian Studies Program at Brandeis University, spent several years studying this glitch in Chairman Mao's program. This book, the first of two on the subject, focuses on one town, Da Fo. Thaxton interviewed inhabitants along with researching documentary evidence. He spoke with people who had endured the famine years and those born afterwards in order to understand how the experience had entered into the town's sense of itself and its feeling toward the government. Relating the experiences of one small town personalizes the suffering and also the way in which people coped. While Thaxton is interested in the politics of the situation, this work encompasses all areas of life for the citizens of Da Fo. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Thaxton argues that the memory of the great famine under Mao shaped villagers' resistance to the socialist state.
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History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present