Mao's Last Revolution

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Harvard University Press, 2006 - History - 693 pages
3 Reviews

The Cultural Revolution was a watershed event in the history of the People‚e(tm)s Republic of China, the defining decade of half a century of communist rule. Before 1966, China was a typical communist state, with a command economy and a powerful party able to keep the population under control. But during the Cultural Revolution, in a move unprecedented in any communist country, Mao unleashed the Red Guards against the party. Tens of thousands of officials were humiliated, tortured, and even killed. Order had to be restored by the military, whose methods were often equally brutal.

In a masterly book, Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals explain why Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, and show his Machiavellian role in masterminding it (which Chinese publications conceal). In often horrifying detail, they document the Hobbesian state that ensued. The movement veered out of control and terror paralyzed the country. Power struggles raged among Lin Biao, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Qing‚e"Mao‚e(tm)s wife and leader of the Gang of Four‚e"while Mao often played one against the other.

After Mao‚e(tm)s death, in reaction to the killing and the chaos, Deng Xiaoping led China into a reform era in which capitalism flourishes and the party has lost its former authority. In its invaluable critical analysis of Chairman Mao and its brilliant portrait of a culture in turmoil, Mao‚e(tm)s Last Revolution offers the most authoritative and compelling account to date of this seminal event in the history of China.

 

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

I've become a little skeptical of large and sweeping "history of everything" books as I've become older, but this work is an exception as the authors use the most current documentation to try and sort ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LamSon - LibraryThing

Mao's Last Revolution is a very good look at the Cultural Revolution and immediate aftermath. Mao kept control through a series of 'one liners' and pithy sayings that had little value in running a ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The First Salvos
14
The Siege of Beijing
32
Confusion on Campuses
52
The Fifty Days
66
Maos New Successor
86
The Red Guards
102
Red Terror
117
The Congress of Victors
285
War Scares
308
The Defection and Death of Lin Biao
324
Mao Becalmed
337
Zhou under Pressure
358
Deng Xiaoping Takes Over
379
The Gang of Four Emerges
396
The Tiananmen Incident of 1976
413

Confusion Nationwide
132
Shanghais January Storm
155
Seizing Power
170
The Last Stand of the Old Guard
184
The Wuhan Incident
199
The May 16 Conspiracy
221
The End of the Red Guards
239
Cleansing the Class Ranks
253
Dispatching Liu Shaoqi
273
The Last Days of Chairman Mao
431
Conclusion
450
Glossary of Names and Identities
465
A Note on Sources
479
Notes
483
Bibliography
611
Illustration Credits
659
Index
661
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Roderick MacFarquhar is the Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science, and Professor of Government, at Harvard University. He has had an illustrious career. He was Director of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, the founding editor of The China Quarterly and a Member of Parliament. His publications include Mao's Last Revolution (2006), co-authored with Michael Schoenhals, and The Paradox of China's Post-Mao Reforms (1999). He was also co-editor, with the late John K. Fairbank, of volumes 14 and 15 of The Cambridge History of China (1987, 1991).

Professor Michael Schoenhals has researched the politics and history of the People's Republic of China for more than twenty-five years. Now at Lund University, his publications on the subject include Doing Things With Words in Chinese Politics: Five Studies (1992) and, with Roderick MacFarquhar, Mao's Last Revolution (2006). In 2003, the Swedish Research Council awarded him the prestigious 'researcher of excellence' title.

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