The cultural revolution : a people's history, 1962-76 / Frank Dikotter.  (Text) (Text)

Dikotter, Frank
Call no.: DS778.7 .D55 2016Publication: London : Bloomsbury, 2016Description: xxv, 396 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., mapISBN: 9781408856499 (hardback); 1408856492 (hardback); 9781408856505 (paperback); 1408856506 (paperback); 9781408856529 (paperback); 1408856522 (paperback)Subject(s): China -- History -- Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976China -- History -- Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976 -- AtrocitiesChina -- History -- Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976 -- Personal narrativesLOC classification: DS778.7 | .D55 2016
Contents:Part One. The Early Years (1962-1966) -- Two Dictators -- Never Forget Class Struggle -- War on the Cultural Front -- Clique of Four.Part Two. The Red Years (1966-1968) -- Poster Wars -- Red August -- Destroying the Old World -- Mao Cult -- Linking Up -- Rebels And Royalists -- Enter the Army -- The Arms Race -- Quenching The Fires.Part Three. The Black Years (1968-1971) -- Cleansing the Ranks -- Up the Mountains, Down to the Villages -- Preparing for War -- Learning From Dazhai -- More Purges -- Fall of an Heir.Part Four. The Grey Years (1971-1976) -- Recovery -- The Silent Revolution -- The Second Society -- Reversals -- Aftermath.
Summary: After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives between 1958 and 1962, an ageing Mao launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalist elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. But the Chairman also used the Cultural Revolution to turn on his colleagues, some of them longstanding comrades-in-arms, subjecting them to public humiliation, imprisonment and torture. Young students formed Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semi-automatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. When the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the marked and hollow out the party's ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. In-depth interviews and archival research at last give voice to the people and the complex choices they faced, undermining the picture of conformity that is often understood to have characterised the last years of Mao's regime. By demonstrating that decollectivisation from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, Frank Dikotter casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light. Written with unprecedented access to previously classified party documents from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, this third chapter in Frank Dikotter's extraordinarily lucid and ground-breaking 'People's Trilogy' is a devastating reassessment of the history of the People's Republic of China.
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Includes bibliographical references (pages 323-379) and index.

Part One. The Early Years (1962-1966) -- Two Dictators -- Never Forget Class Struggle -- War on the Cultural Front -- Clique of Four.

Part Two. The Red Years (1966-1968) -- Poster Wars -- Red August -- Destroying the Old World -- Mao Cult -- Linking Up -- Rebels And Royalists -- Enter the Army -- The Arms Race -- Quenching The Fires.

Part Three. The Black Years (1968-1971) -- Cleansing the Ranks -- Up the Mountains, Down to the Villages -- Preparing for War -- Learning From Dazhai -- More Purges -- Fall of an Heir.

Part Four. The Grey Years (1971-1976) -- Recovery -- The Silent Revolution -- The Second Society -- Reversals -- Aftermath.

After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives between 1958 and 1962, an ageing Mao launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalist elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. But the Chairman also used the Cultural Revolution to turn on his colleagues, some of them longstanding comrades-in-arms, subjecting them to public humiliation, imprisonment and torture. Young students formed Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semi-automatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. When the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the marked and hollow out the party's ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. In-depth interviews and archival research at last give voice to the people and the complex choices they faced, undermining the picture of conformity that is often understood to have characterised the last years of Mao's regime. By demonstrating that decollectivisation from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, Frank Dikotter casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light. Written with unprecedented access to previously classified party documents from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, this third chapter in Frank Dikotter's extraordinarily lucid and ground-breaking 'People's Trilogy' is a devastating reassessment of the history of the People's Republic of China.

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