This first authoritative expose of the 1958-1962 famine prompted by China's collectivization plan, "The Great Leap Forward," comes at a time when the cult of Mao is alive and well inside China, and while agents of Chinese influence are able to arrange audiences with a President. Via his painstaking research and reporting that included two treks through interior Chinese provinces, Becker tells how the famine occurred because ill-trained peasants were forced to undertake a gigantic and centralized industrial and agricultural expansion. The new factories, canals, and irrigation systems failed spectacularly, and in contrast to propaganda boasts of having economically outstripped the U.S., when in reality the populace was driven by starvation to cannibalism, slavery, and madness. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Becker, Beijing Bureau Chief for the South China Morning Post, sees the 1958-62 famine, even more than the Cultural Revolution that followed it, as China's greatest trauma of the century. Population statistics made public since 1979 reveal that at least 30 million people starved to death in the wake of Mao's Great Leap Forward. Although Becker concedes that the American press (especially Joseph Alsop) reported the famine with accuracy, he notes that other Western "foreign experts" who admired Mao, such as Edgar Snow, Rewi Alley, and Anna Louise Strong, remained silent or played down its severity. The tragedy could have been averted, Becker concludes, after the first year if Mao's senior advisers had dared to confront him. Unlike such academic works as Dali L. Yang's Calamity and Reform in China (Stanford Univ., 1996), this work presupposes little knowledge of communism and China; Becker's strength is his anecdotal, journalistic style. This is fascinating journalism, but the definitive study has yet to be written.?Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A damning and enlightening book about Mao's horrific, disastrous "Great Leap Forward" in which thirty died. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Matthew J. Brennan
A story that will hold your interest from page 1, so hard to believe this was a true event that took place without the world knowing what was going on. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lorraine Grant
This is a very detailed book. The documentation both by interviews and government documents is voluminous. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bruce Wiggins
I will say that this is not an easy book to read, it is fascinating but has a lot of very dry political rhetoric. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Grandma Barbara
I enjoyed reading this book about Mao's failed policies. History sometimes forgets how he treated his people. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tracy Bedell
What lead me to this book was a work of fiction, dreams of joy by Lisa See. The things that she referred to seemed so unbelievable. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Angi
The author is very graphic in his discussion of some of what occurs during famine. It is very similar to the Holodomor, according to this book.Published 18 months ago by Peter E. Wells
I had read books that hinted at the atrocities committed during China's great famine but was astonished and at times disgusted with the facts presented in this book. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Dianna Reeves
One of the best books about Mao that I have ever read. What a terrifying time. I strongly recommend it for those who wish to see just how bloody a history China has had.Published 21 months ago by Agnostic