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The Cultural Revolution: A People's History,…
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The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962―1976 (vuoden 2017 painos)

– tekijä: Frank Dikötter (Tekijä)

Sarjat: People's Trilogy (Book 3)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
248583,098 (4.02)1
After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958-1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalist elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. Young students formed the Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semiautomatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. This book draws for the first time on hundreds of previously classified party documents, from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches. Frank Dikötter uses this wealth of material to undermine the picture of complete conformity that is often supposed to have characterized the last years of the Mao era. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party's ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. By showing how economic reform from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, Dikötter casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light.--Adapted from dust jacket.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:ChristopherCutler
Teoksen nimi:The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962―1976
Kirjailijat:Frank Dikötter (Tekijä)
Info:Bloomsbury Press (2017), Edition: Reprint, 432 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962-1976 (tekijä: Frank Dikötter)

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Good synthesis of available resources

The title of this book, "The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962-1976" is a bit of a misnomer. This is not a selection of anecdotes or interviews from ordinary citizens of China. Rather, it is a brief summary of available resources that fits, more or less, into a chronology.

Many sections of the book seemed a bit disjointed. Dikötter is an excellent researcher, but I felt like he was just gathering all the first-hand sources he could find and then forcing them into a narrative, whether they matched what he had previously written or not.

The most described years are those between 1966 and 1969 in "The Cultural Revolution: A People's History." This is where most of the action happened: radicals took power in many cities, students stopped attending classes, and the Red Guard was most active.

There is an emphasis on what happened in cities. I appreciated Dikötter's explanation of the various Red Guard groups that fought against each other in the cities like Shanghai, leading to a state of near civil war. There are plenty of great memoirs and biographies about students who were sent down to the countryside, so Dikötter devoted just a little space to it, perhaps a chapter.

Something I appreciated about this book was the exposition to the Cultural Revolution. Dikötter describes what caused Mao to lose clout within the Communist Party after the Great Leap Forward and then institute the Cultural Revolution by using forces outside the party. Throughout the book, "palace intrigue" is central. Dikötter gives good, easy-to-understand descriptions and brief biographies of all the heavy political figures involved in the Cultural Revolution. He includes those who approved of it and those who disagreed or tried to push back against it. Dikötter reminds readers that Mao, despite being a shrewd politician, was not all-powerful. ( )
1 ääni mvblair | Aug 8, 2020 |
I'm not really qualified to review this, but I learned a lot. ( )
  nicholasjjordan | Nov 13, 2019 |
Als ik dit boek niet “moest” lezen voor de leesclub had ik het zeker niet uitgelezen. Het is een gedegen geschreven en gedocumenteerd verslag van de verschrikkingen voor de bevolking van China in de jaren van de Culturele Revolutie. De volstrekte willekeur van partijleiders, het volkomen gebrek aan (mensen)rechten. Te gruwelijk voor woorden, maar ook onbegrijpelijk omdat ik al die machthebbers niet uit elkaarvkan houden, helaas, voor mijnte moeilijke namen. ( )
  vuurziel | Jun 5, 2018 |
Scary to think when citizens turn against each other after doing the impossible of becoming a united nation after many years of European exploitation and division. Surviving Japan and the great Chinese revolution of 1949 is a testament to a great people ( to endure ). Mao Zedong was a romantic revolutionary who should of step down after the creation of the People's Republic of China and enjoyed his twilight years. His ill-fated "The Great Leap Forward" that starved his nation should have been a sign that he was no statesman or had any clue how to run a vast country when at any moment foreign powers are waiting for her collapse. Mao believed in permanent revolution, and the Culture Revolution was a nightmare and a breakdown of civilization. Friends became foes; neighbors became your judges and jury, students (middle school ) tortured teachers. Mao had many good ideas pre-revolution, a nation free from European and Japanese enslavement, an experience that many countries can relate even today. He sympathized with the civil rights movement and the plight of many African countries. His quest for a utopian society ended in disaster even Karl Marx dismissed the idea of a utopian society. From afar we sometimes romanticized revolutions of past without thinking about the victims or when we call for revolution without thinking about the most important question "what happens after ?" What happens when you become so feverish, and the mob makes the rules as they go along? It's dangerous when we create a cult of personality, and people are willing to kill, torture, and destroy their civilization because the cult figure can't take being marginalized and worries too much about how history will judge him.

The "culture revolution" doesn't afford too many heroes people like Deng Xiaoping once became the enemy of the Red Guard accused of being anti-revolution and returned to good graces of Mao to just turn around behave the same way (Tiananmen Square). I personal like Zhou Enlai but he too compromised to save his neck, hard to blame him only in hindsight and miles away we dare to judge how anyone should behave or act under madness.

"The Culture Revolution a People's History" perfect for history buffs, admirers of revolution, understanding China, and how humans can endure and build from insanity.


"Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend."
百花齐放,百家争鸣;
bǎihuā qífàng, bǎijiā zhēngmíng
Chairman Mao ( )
1 ääni lifeofabastard | Jan 6, 2018 |
See Wall Street Journal review, and snippets from it, below. ( )
  peternh | May 8, 2016 |
näyttää 5/5
Frank Dikötter charts all this devastation in his new volume, “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962–1976,” which completes a trilogy of titles detailing the history of Chinese Communist Party rule up to the death of Mao. Mr. Dikötter relies mainly on the Party’s own records. Temporarily declassified letters of complaint, secret police reports, statistics, surveys and other archived papers document China’s repeated disemboweling at the hands of its rulers.

...

The constant reversals of fortune were bewildering. “People roamed the capital, scanning the walls of the most important government units for new information about the direction of the campaign,” writes Mr. Dikötter. One day’s dead counter-revolutionaries could turn out to be the next day’s revolutionary martyrs.

One 19-year-old student shrewdly saw parallels between Mao’s Tiananmen Square reviews of 12 million adoring young Red Guards and Hitler’s rallies at Nuremberg. Rather less shrewdly, she wrote to tell him so: “The Cultural Revolution is not a mass movement. It is one man with a gun manipulating the people.” She spent the next 13 years in prison.

Mr. Dikötter skillfully makes his story intimate with details of such personal disasters. An occasionally repetitious use of more impersonal statistics reinforces the towering scale of the tragedy.

His account is also well-seasoned with the bizarre. By 1968 the production of Mao badges had reached 50 million per month and there were 600,000 Mao statues in Shanghai alone, many shoddily made and a danger to pedestrians.

The Cultural Revolution led to widespread disillusionment with the Party. Endless campaigns produced widespread resistance even among Party members themselves. Private plots, black markets, the renting of land and underground factories all proliferated without permission. Deng Xiaoping’s reforms were in large part an acceptance of what was already happening.

Deng actually resisted decollectivization, but, as Mr. Dikötter writes, “had neither the will nor the ability to fight the natural trend towards private enterprise and a market-led economy.” When the communes were finally disbanded it was merely recognition that the farmers had made collective farms irrelevant.

For those who have swallowed the poisonous claim that the Communist Party deserves some credit for China’s current patchy prosperity, Mr. Dikötter provides the antidote. The Party’s own documents show how it repeatedly drove the country into poverty.
lisäsi peternh | muokkaaWall Street Journal, Peter Neville-Hadley (maksullinen sivusto) (May 3, 2016)
 

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After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958-1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalist elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. Young students formed the Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semiautomatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. This book draws for the first time on hundreds of previously classified party documents, from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches. Frank Dikötter uses this wealth of material to undermine the picture of complete conformity that is often supposed to have characterized the last years of the Mao era. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party's ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. By showing how economic reform from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, Dikötter casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light.--Adapted from dust jacket.

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