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Becker, Beijing Bureau Chief for the South China Morning Post, sees the 1958-62 famine, even more than the Cultural Revolution that followed it, as China's greatest trauma of the century. Population statistics made public since 1979 reveal that at least 30 million people starved to death in the wake of Mao's Great Leap Forward. Although Becker concedes that the American press (especially Joseph Alsop) reported the famine with accuracy, he notes that other Western "foreign experts" who admired Mao, such as Edgar Snow, Rewi Alley, and Anna Louise Strong, remained silent or played down its severity. The tragedy could have been averted, Becker concludes, after the first year if Mao's senior advisers had dared to confront him. Unlike such academic works as Dali L. Yang's Calamity and Reform in China (Stanford Univ., 1996), this work presupposes little knowledge of communism and China; Becker's strength is his anecdotal, journalistic style. This is fascinating journalism, but the definitive study has yet to be written.?Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Many claim that death has resulted from every attempt to communize agriculture and perhaps on the largest scale during China's disastrous "Great Leap Forward." But no one knows how many starved to death there in the years 1958^-62--demographers place the lower limit at 30 million. The Communist government seemingly concealed the catastrophe from the outside world, abetted by the few Western visitors to the country (such as France's Mitterand), who declared there was no famine. Becker, a veteran East Asia correspondent for British publications, reconstructs the terrible event using interviews of survivors, whose ordeal he details in graphic chapters, describing hunger and cannibalism. According to Becker, unlike most famines in Chinese history, Mao's political famine beset the entire country, which induced opposition to the leader's fanaticism from more realistic leaders such as Liu Shao-ch'i and Teng Hsiao-p'ing, with whom Mao later settled scores in the Cultural Revolution. A subject still officially muted in China, the famine as Becker has investigated it becomes a less obscure chapter in the country's Communist history. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
In this book Jasper Becker has done an impressive and exhaustive job on digging up information and interviews, out of a society that has pulled out all the stops to repress all... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2001 by doomsdayer520
It has often been said that, to understand China, you must know of its past. Here is a compelling treatment of a chapter in China's history that is almost a black comedy. Read morePublished on May 19 2001 by KR
I found this book well-written, well-organized, and moving. It's interesting to see how many Chinese readers consider it ethnocentric and anti-Chinese. Read morePublished on April 20 2001 by Mark K. Mcdonough
That Americans continue to make the stories bigger amaze me, but this is an easy topic to make money on. Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2000
This is an utterly fascinating story of how fear and lack of personal, individual responsibility came together to create a disaster of unthinkable proportions. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2000
As all hjonest scholars would admit, the number of famine victims have yet to be determined, and probably will never be. Read morePublished on Sept. 11 1999
This book tells the fascinating and horrifying story of a Chinese famine due to the Communists. If anyone ever thought that George Orwell didn't know about Communists and that way... Read morePublished on Aug. 11 1998