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Dr. Lars P. Laamann "Lars Laamann" (London, Europe)
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The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 (Peoples Trilogy 2)
The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 (Peoples Trilogy 2)
by Frank Dikötter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1949: Tragic insights into a "liberated" China, 29 Oct 2013
Professor Dikötter's latest book forms part of a reevaluation in three parts of China's so-called Mao Zedong years. While the first - actually second - part on the Great Leap Forward added substance to the already widely acknowledged nefarious influence of the 'Great Helmsman' during the period of enforced collectivisation, the present volume deals with a historical taboo: the genesis of the People's Republic as an act of unspeakable brutality. Whilst no Maoist would argue that political power does not out of the barrel of a gun, the detailed descriptions which Frank Dikötter teased out of previously closed archives present a spine-tingling picture of the early People's Republic as a chaotic and depressing nightmare. Rather than engaging revolutionaries and the former elites in a political dialogue, the immediate and sustained policy of the Party, with Mao as its undisputed mastermind, is revealed as one of repression and extermination. The Tragedy of Liberation pursues rural "struggle sessions" and urban mass campaigns against ever more fictitious "enemies" of the revolution from the historically familiar (e.g. Guangxi campaign) to the most heartrending personal revelations. A poor farmer confessing that he once killed eight people as a one-year old, therefore fully deserving the wrath of the People? Mao's revolution made it possible. This book is a "must" for every reader interested in modern China, but also in the history of other revolutionary experiences, from Paris in the 1790s to Moscow during the 1920s. Frank Dikötter has produced a thoroughly researched yet fully accessible book, which can be easily understood by non-specialists. An important book, which will remain relevant over the coming decades.


Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62
Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62
by Frank Dikotter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mao's Great Famine, 28 Sep 2010
A compelling, at times frighteningly descriptive account of a political experiment which should never have taken place. Frank Dikötter's study of the Great Leap period goes beyond the purely academic, allowing the reader to peer through the mists of official propaganda straight into dusty village squares and over-crowded dormitories. Contemporary news reports and personal recollections combine the global backdrop of the incipient Cold War with the tragic decisions and events which were unfolding in Mao Zedong's China. Perhaps most intriguingly, this book is almost entirely based on archival materials which, until a handful of years ago, would have been off-limits to virtually all historians. Despite its reliance on documents produced by party cadres and state officials, Mao's Great Famine is a very readable book, which will appeal to an audience far beyond the academic circle. A 'Dikötter' not to be missed.


Hungary (CultureShock!)
Hungary (CultureShock!)
by Zsuzsanna Ardó
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hungarian rhapsody, 19 Jun 2010
Few travel guides are written by authors who have other predilections than, well, travelling and writing. Zsuzsanna Ardó applies personal passion for her native Hungary like a surgical scalpel in dissecting psychological and linguistic peculiarities, alongside the most practical of everyday considerations. Culture Shock! Hungary thus approaches this country in the centre of Europe as a likeable oddity, a case study of a social culture and ethnic identity which genuinely differ from those of its neighbours. Multi-faceted Ardó leaves no stone unturned in her quest to display the soul of Hungary. Herself an acclaimed photographer, the author purveys an image of digital clarity; aspects as diverse as the country's political system, its culinary landscape, music and geography are analysed and presented in impeccable playfulness. In her capacity as literary translator, Ardó unlocks the complexities of the Hungarian language and ethnic origins in an approachable and, dare one say, enjoyable manner. A profound impact even on the casual reader is guaranteed!


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