Monday, January 10, 2011

Mao's Great Famine

I bought this book (hardcover!) from Amazon last week. I originally found out about a Chinese-only book on the subject (it's being translated) and an Amazon search led me to this book by Frank Dikötter.

My 3 regular readers already know what I think about Mao and the CCP (not good), but just reading the preface of this book make me depressed. 40+ million people dead... that's more than the current population of Canada and Hong Kong combined! It's sad that the political system in China is so corrupt and rotten that they can't openly discuss history. The only "lesson" the CCP wants to study is how to stay in power.


Here's a review from The Guardian.

Frank Dikötter has written a masterly book that should be read not just by anybody interested in modern Chinese history but also by anybody concerned with the way in which a simple idea propagated by an autocratic national leader can lead a country to disaster, in this case to a degree that beggars the imagination.

The basic narrative of the great famine that hit the People's Republic around 1960 has been known outside China at least since Jasper Becker's groundbreaking 1996 account, Hungry Ghosts. Its claims were doubted by those who could not accept the sheer monstrous scale of the calamity visited on the Chinese people as a result of the Great Leap Forward launched by Mao in 1958 to propel China into the ranks of major industrial nations. But now Dikötter's painstaking research in newly opened local archives makes all too credible his estimate that the death toll reached 45 million people.

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