Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

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University of Hawaii Press, 1996 - History - 659 pages
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The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution occurred in the second decade after Mao Zedong and his comrades came to power in 1949. A comprehensive narrative account of this colossal event, written by Yan Jiaqi, one of the principal leaders of China's pro-democracy movement, and his wife, Gao Gao, a noted sociologist, appeared in Hong Kong in 1986 and was quickly banned by the Communist government. Not surprisingly, censorship and restricted circulation in China resulted in underground reproduction and serialization. The work was thus widely read, coveted, and appreciated by a populace who had just freed itself from the cultural drought and political dread of the event. Yan and Gao later spent two years revising and expanding their work. The present volume, Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution, is based on the revised edition and has been masterfully edited and translated by D. W. Y. Kwok in consultation with the authors. Following Professor Kwok's eloquent introduction and a short foreword in which the authors analyze the basic causes of the Cultural Revolution, Part One of the narrative focuses on the years 1965-1967. In two short years, Mao managed to turn public opinion against Liu Shaoqi, president of the Republic, and launch the Cultural Revolution. The reader is introduced to the Red Guards and encounters the cult of personality, the first resistance to the Cultural Revolution, the attack on Zhou Enlai, and the persecution and death of Liu Shaoqi. Part Two examines the rise and fall of Lin Biao during the years 1959-1971. Lin's bid for power, which began with the consolidation of his personal clique in the army and mass-level persecution in the late stages of theCultural Revolution, ended in a failed coup and his death in an air crash. Part Three follows Jiang Qing from 1966 to her arrest in 1976 for her part in instigating mass violence and the persecution of key figures, including Zhou Enlai. During this period, the political fortunes of Deng Xiaoping rose and fell for a second time, the first protest at Tiananmen Square in 1976 ended in a bloody suppression, and that same year the Gang of Four were arrested. Unlike social scientific treatments of political phenomena, Turbulent Decade includes little discussion of economics, still less of international relations, and no institutional analysis. Instead, the authors' fervent belief in the truthful telling of history through its leading personalities pervades the work.
 

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Turbulent decade: a history of the cultural revolution

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The historical scope of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which raged in China from 1966 to 1976 with the force of a national nightmare, is still only vaguely understood. This straightforward ... Read full review

Contents

The Genesis of the Cultural Revolution
1
Criticizing Hai Rut Dismissed from Office
23
The Struggle around the Question of the Work Groups
39
The Rise of the Red Guards and the Cult of the Individual
56
Declaring War on the Old World
65
Nationwide Networking
85
Bombarding the Command Post
93
Currents of Boycott and Resistance
101
The Failure of the Lin Biao Coup
318
The September 13 Incident and Death of Lin Biao
327
Jiang Qing and the Politics of the Cultural Revolution
337
New Life Created by the Cultural Revolution
351
Special Cases Forced Confessions Fabricated Proof
356
Erasing the Stains of the I 930s
366
Escalation of Armed Struggle
375
Arts Criticism and the Revolution of Beijing Opera
396

From Down with Tao Zhu to Retaliating against
116
Drowning amidst Struggles
133
The Last Days of Liu Shaoqi
152
A Shortcut to the Peak of Power
179
Climbing the Leadership Ladder
193
The Frenzy of False Accusations and Persecutions
197
Shackling Attacking and Oppressing the People
248
Lin Biaos Rein on the Armed Forces
285
The Lushan Conference 1970
302
The United Flotilla and the 571 Project
310
The September 13 Incident and the Trough
403
Criticize Lin Biao Confucius and the Duke of Zhou
430
Deng Xiaopings Overall Rectification
453
The Tiananmen Square Incident 1976
482
The Downfall of the Gang of Four
504
Concluding Remarks
529
Glossary
563
Bibliography
579
Selected Further Readings
611
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