Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine

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Macmillan, Apr 15, 1998 - History - 380 pages
29 Reviews
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Chinese people suffered what may have been the worst famine in history. Over thirty million perished in a grain shortage brought on not by flood, drought, or infestation, but by the insanely irresponsible dictates of Chairman Mao Ze-dong's "Great Leap Forward," an attempt at utopian engineering gone horribly wrong.

Journalist Jasper Becker conducted hundreds of interviews and spent years immersed in painstaking detective work to produce Hungry Ghosts, the first full account of this dark chapter in Chinese history. In this horrific story of state-sponsored terror, cannibalism, torture, and murder, China's communist leadership boasted of record harvests and actually increased grain exports, while refusing imports and international assistance. With China's reclamation of Hong Kong now a fait accompli, removing the historical blinders is more timely than ever. As reviewer Richard Bernstein wrote in the New York Times, "Mr. Becker's remarkable book...strikes a heavy blow against willed ignorance of what took place."
  

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Review: Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine

User Review  - Lori Flatland - Goodreads

very good depiction of the cost of communism. so compelling and harrowing in it's illustration of the consequences of personality cults. reinforces the belief that humans are meant to have freedom of conscience about all. Read full review

Review: Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine

User Review  - Sarah Adams - Goodreads

A thorough explanation of how a man-made famine came about, and how a broken government perpetuated it. Gruesome details of how people survived such a time. A great perspective on an event that is rarely talked about, but made huge impacts on China's culture. Read full review

Contents

China Land of Famine
9
Arise Ye Prisoners of Starvation
24
The Soviet Famine
37
The First Collectivization 19491958
47
False Science False Promises
58
Mao Ignores the Famine
83
The Great Hunger
97
An Overview of the Famine
99
Life in the Cities
220
The Great Lie
233
Liu Shaoqi Saves the Peasants
235
Maos Failure and His Legacy
255
How Many Died?
266
How to Record the Annals of a Place?
275
The Western Failure
287
Afterword
307

Henan A Catastrophe of Lies
112
Anhui Lets Talk about Fengyang
130
The Other Provinces
150
The Panchen Lamas Letter
166
In the Prison Camps
183
The Anatomy of Hunger
198
Cannibalism
211
North Korea 1998
313
Biographical Sketches
341
Notes
345
Bibliography
361
Index
367
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Jasper Becker is currently Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post. He has also written extensively on Chinese affairs for The Guardian, The Economist, and The Spectator. He lives in Beijing.

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