30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Nice Job, Excellent Read,
This review is from: Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine (Holt Paperback) (Paperback)
I found this book well-written, well-organized, and moving. It's interesting to see how many Chinese readers consider it ethnocentric and anti-Chinese. I didn't take it that way at all -- Mao's sort of madness is all-too-universal in human history, and the story left me with a sense of great admiration for the Chinese people who somehow suffered through this period. Becker is also very careful to point out that the real roots of the disaster were not in China but in Mao's enthusiasm for actions of Stalin and the writings of Marx.
And if the portions on Mao sometimes read like a bio of Idi Amin, well, I'd consider that appropriate. He was a murderous, vainglorious sociopath. The fact that he was right about the terrible crimes of the Western powers against China neither changes nor justifies a thing.
Anyway, a very nicely written and fascinating account that left me wanting to learn more about both ancient and modern Chinese history.