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Burying Mao [Paperback]

by Richard Baum
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

January 8, 1996 0691036373 978-0691036373 Reprint

For almost two decades after Mao Zedong's death, an epic, no-holds-barred contest was waged in China between orthodox Marxists and reformers. With Deng Xiaoping's strong support, the reformers ultimately won; but they--and China--paid a heavy price. Here, Richard Baum provides a lively, comprehensive guide to the intricate theater of post-Mao Chinese politics. He tells the intriguing story of an escalating intergenerational clash of ideas and values between the aging revolutionaries of the Maoist era and their younger, more pragmatic successors. Baum deftly analyzes the anatomy of the reformers' ultimate victory in his brilliant reconstruction of the twists and turns of the reform process.



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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

By employing a classical Lasswellian political analysis-who says what, to whom, through which channel, with what effect-Baum (political science, UCLA) demonstrates that Deng Xiaoping is the ultimate Machiavellian leader, controlling the development and articulation of policy in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He emphasizes that it is impossible to apply constant, unchanging, ideological labels to individuals and groups in Chinese politics and provides details of interactions that have occurred among a number of powerholders in the CCP. He identifies the theme of "fang/shou" (letting go/tightening up) as a popular, and also misleading, inter- pretation of Chinese politics. The sheer number of actors Baum discusses may lose the reader, but the quality of his analysis is first-rate. He points out that the majority of Chinese revolutionaries are now dead, and the remainder, including Deng himself, are afflicted with varying diseases associated with old age. Therefore, China has already disregarded the fang/shou cycle. This should give the reader insight into China as a future world power. Highly recommended for academic collections.
Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, Ill.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Baum demonstrates with this book his command of the Chinese political scene in a critical year of transition for China.... Brilliantly researched and full of interpretative and nuanced insights into the leadership struggle, Burying Mao brings China into sharp focus."--Patrick Tyler, The New York Times



"This is the right way to look at Chinese politics, in which power and personalities are much more important than ideology, which is regularly twisted to fit current needs.... Baum excellently pinpoints how factions, the bane of Chinese politics, align and realign."--
The Times Literary Supplement



"In this highly readable book, Baum provides a fascinating and extremely detailed account of how Deng Xiaoping came to power, how he reversed Mao's policies and launched China on the path of economic reform, how he handled the complex interaction between the top leaders of the Party, and how he deftly preserved supreme power in his own hands. . . . [Readers] will find much in the book that will help them comprehend developments in contemporary China."--
Choice



"What the book brings out is how dangerous was the territory through which Deng and his men had to pass. It was not a simple matter of assuming power and issuing decrees. . . . Deng emerges from this study less as an emperor than as a consummate politician. . . . Burying Mao is a first-class work, coolly judged and clearly written, drawing on a mass of carefully sifted material."--
Sunday Times (London)



"Baum demonstrates that Deng Xiaoping is the ultimate Machiavellian leader. . . . the quality of his analysis is first-rate. . . . This should give the reader insight into China as a future world power."--
Library Journal



"It is the most comprehensive guide to hand, and is more persuasive for coming in the winter of Dengism."--
The Economist



". . . [a] thorough, balanced and interesting work."--Ian Buruma, Sunday Telegraph



"Written by one of the best commentators in the United States on Chinese politics, this is . . . [an] extremely thorough, yet accessible account of Chinese politics from 1976 until 1993. . . . Anybody interested in Chinese politics will benefit from reading it, and it will be used widely for courses on Chinese politics in the era of reform."--
China Information


Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (January 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691036373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691036373
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,446,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The story of China from 1949-1997 can be oversimplified, with some reservation, into the story of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. This book is an introduction to the latters attempt to build on and undo much of the former's legacy. While this is understandable to bright people who have the most basic knowledge of Chinese/Marxist politics, Lieberthal's Governing China is actually the best place to start for an absolute beginner who would like to know "who-does-what in China, what exactly did Mao do" background.
This work shows Deng clawing his way to the top, his fights w.important high-ranking technocrats (Chen Yun) and die-hard Maoists (who hardly handed the Party over to Deng after Mao died in '76). Bureaucratic infighting, skillful propaganda work to separate the Dengist party from the Maoist party of the disasterous Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward while remaining connected to the anti-KMT revolution make this interesting and useful reading. Definitely recommended for those interested in understanding China beyond the NYTimes headlines and for those needing a refresher of the big picture.
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