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Dikötter, Frank
Mao's great famine : the history of China's most devastating catastrophe, 1958-1962 / Frank Dikötter
Alternate Title History of China's most devastating catastrophe, 1958-1962
1st U.S. ed
New York : Walker & Co., c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  HC430.F3 D55 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Famines -- China
Food supply -- China
Subject China -- Economic policy -- 1949-1976
Physical Description xxi, 420 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [349]-361) and index
Contents Two rivals -- The bidding starts -- Purging the ranks -- Bugle call -- Launching sputniks -- Let the shelling begin -- The people's communes -- Steel fever -- Warning signs -- Shopping spree -- Dizzy with success -- The end of truth -- Repression -- The Sino-Soviet rift -- Capitalist grain -- Finding a way out -- Agriculture -- Industry -- Trade -- Housing -- Nature -- Feasting through famine -- Wheeling and dealing -- On the sly -- 'Dear Chairman Mao' -- Robbers and rebels -- Exodus -- Children -- Women -- The elderly -- Accidents -- Disease -- The gulag -- Violence -- Sites of horror -- Cannibalism -- The final tally
Review ""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 with and overtake Britain in less than fifteen years. The experiment ended in the greatest catastrophe the country had ever known, destroying tens of millions of lives." So opens Frank Dikotter's astonishing, 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. However, a new archive law has opened up thousands of central and provincial documents that "fundamentally change the way one can study the Maoist era."" "Dikotter 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 propelled the country in the other direction. It became not only one of the most deadly mass killings in human history---at least 45 million people were worked, starved, or beaten to death---but also the greatest demolition of real estate in 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 meshing of exhaustive research in Chinese archives and narrative drive, Dikotter 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."--BOOK JACKET

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