Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
The much-anticipated definitive account of China's Great Famine
An estimated thirty-six million Chinese men, women, and children starved to death during China's Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early '60s. One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China is still euphemistically referred to as "the three years of natural disaster."
As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent twenty years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang attributes responsibility for the deaths to China's totalitarian system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest.
Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. Ian Johnson, writing in The New York Review of Books, called the Chinese edition of Tombstone "groundbreaking . . . One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years."
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TOMBSTONE: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962User Review - Kirkus
The harrowing account of China's Great Famine.When he was a young boy in the countryside, writes Yang Jisheng, a classmate insisted that Chairman Mao "has been enthroned"—that is, following an old ... Read full review
Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine 1958–1962User Review - Book Verdict
When American journalist Edgar Snow defied state department bans to tour China in 1959, Premier Zhou Enlai assured him that reports of famine deaths were CIA propaganda. After Mao Zedong died in 1976 ... Read full review