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Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China Hardcover – Feb 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking Pr (Feb. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670848166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670848164
  • Product Dimensions: 50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,652,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard J. Evans is Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University. His previous books include In Defence of History, Telling Lies about Hitler and the companions to this title, The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power. He lives outside Cambridge.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Currie on 14 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book traces the career of the man who translated Mao's legacy into something a bit more humane and a lot more prosperous. It does a fine job of showing Deng's central role in shaping contemporary China. What it doesn't do is give you any real insight into the motivations of the man. Given the way that the CCP controls history this is perhaps inevitable, but it is a shame that we get so few glimpses of what Deng thought or felt. His journey from 1940s war hero to 1980s Paramount Leader was extraordinary - it would be interesting to know what propelled him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Captain of Fun on 20 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who is spending a great deal of his time in China, I wanted to find out more about the Father of Modern China.

The book is clearly well researched and the author clearly understood and respected the subject so if your desire is to understand more about Deng Xiaoping and relatively modern Chinese history, that need is well met. If you wanted it in an easily digestible form, you may have to think again.
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Part biography, part Chinese history, Richard Evans documents the life of China's last great leader: Deng Xiaoping. The author covers his childhood and upbringing, early political and social influences, his role during the war and life up to and beyond the death of Mao Zedung. Needless to say, it's an extraordinary existence.

From humble roots, Deng was to become a key figure as a Chinese communist both as a member of the Chinese comintern branch and the later Communist Party proper. He rose rapidly through the ranks to high office fairly young thanks to his activity as a political soldier during the war with Japan. The war itself allowed the Communists to expand it's power base at the expense of the Nationalists with Deng playing a key role. However, he was never to be considered a natural heir to Mao. Deng himself barely survived the Cultural Revolution, only managing to be protected by friends in the south of the country. His close friendship with Zhou En Lai and Mao's personal patronage helped. In the event of Mao's death, Deng played a significant role in the prosecution of the infamous and malevolent 'Gang of Four'.

Above all, Evans' study explains just how important Deng was in the development of China into the modern behemoth that it is today, more so than Mao. His time in Paris and other journeys abroad, allowed him to acknowledge the importance of the outside world, combating Mao's 'Sinocentrism'. He became a major figurehead in Chinese politics and strongly disfavoured the cult of personality which Mao allowed to develop around himself. Deng also eased social and economic restrictions on the Chinese populous, enabling many in poverty to find at least some form of prosperity. He also turned the PLA into a major military force from a bloated and ineffectual militia, fractured by schisms.

Good book, and very important tro scholars of Chinese political history.
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By Amazon Customer on 30 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book by a western expert on the most important man in China, after Mao zedong, this thorough book has been researched by the very recently late Richard Evans (his recent obituary inspired me to read the book) who lived in China during some of the time in question. Using all existing archive material, both official and unofficial and the testament of the people that knew him, the entire life of Deng has been chronicled.
Deng's influence on the early history of the chinese communist party, his part in the long bitter and costly revolution, its development during the 20th century, his disgrace and rehabilitation are all described in great detail. This book is about both Deng and the communist party. The one is inextricably linked with the other. Deng is now rightly regarded as the architect of modern forward thinking China with its emphasis on economic and social development so that the chinese people themselves will enjoy the benefit of their own labours and not be stifled by a rigid and doctrinaire top-down approach by Mao. The history and operation of the Chinese communist party and its internal politics can be quite frightening to western ways of thinking. This book is illuminating in this regard. One point that arises is the importance of Mao in China, both in the early years where his influence was entirely positive, through his later years where his influence became a drag on the whole social and political fabric of China largely because of his iconic status and into the period after his death. Mao is still revered by a billion Chinese people, but Deng has far greater respect from the other six billion of the rest of the world.
Geoff Snape
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