Read Mao's Great Famine: The History Of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62 by Frank Dikötter Free Online
Book Title: Mao's Great Famine: The History Of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62|
The author of the book: Frank Dikötter
Edition: Bloomsbury UK
Date of issue: September 6th 2010
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Reader ratings: 7.6
ISBN 13: 9780747595083
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 23.64 MB
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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 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. Access to Communist Party archives has long been denied to all but the most loyal historians, but now a new law has opened up thousands of central and provincial documents that fundamentally change the way one can study the Maoist era. Frank Dikotter's astonishing, riveting and magnificently detailed book chronicles an era in Chinese history much speculated about but never before fully documented. Dikotter shows that instead of lifting the country among the world's superpowers and proving the power of communism, as Mao imagined, in reality the Great Leap Forward was a giant - and disastrous -- step in the opposite direction. He demonstrates, as nobody has before, that under this initiative the country 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 the greatest demolition of real estate - and catastrophe for the natural environment - in human history, as up to a third of all housing was turned to rubble and the land savaged in the maniacal pursuit of steel and other industrial accomplishments. Piecing together both the vicious machinations in the corridors of power and the everyday experiences of ordinary people, Dikotter at last gives voice to the dead and disenfranchised. Exhaustively researched and brilliantly written, this magisterial, groundbreaking account definitively recasts the history of the People's Republic of China.
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Read information about the authorFrank Dikötter is the Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Professor of the Modern History of China on leave from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Born in the Netherlands in 1961, he was educated in Switzerland and graduated from the University of Geneva with a Double Major in History and Russian. After two years in the People's Republic of China, he moved to London where he obtained his PhD in History from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1990. He stayed at SOAS as British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and as Wellcome Research Fellow before being promoted to a personal chair as Professor of the Modern History of China in 2002. His research and writing has been funded by over 1.5 US$ million in grants from various foundations, including, in Britain, the Wellcome Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Economic and Social Research Council and, in Hong Kong, the Research Grants Council and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.
He has published nine books that have changed the ways historians view modern China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (1992) to China before Mao: The Age of Openness (2007). His 2010 book =Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe was selected as one of the Books of the Year in 2010 by The Economist, The Independent, the Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard (selected twice), The Telegraph, the New Statesman and the BBC History Magazine, and is on the longlist for the 2011 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.