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The Death of Mao: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Birth of the New China Hardcover – 19 Jan 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (19 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571243991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571243990
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,012,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A masterly study of a nation at the crossroads.' --Sunday Telegraph

'Palmer brings to life the personalities jockeying for power as Mao lay dying of motor neurone disease in 1976.' --Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A major work of Cold War history, capturing the moment when Mao died and China entered a dramatic phase of transition from Communism.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quite a short book when compared to others like James Palmer's "Mao's great famine". But it works well as follow on to explain the excesses of the cultural revolution upto and just after Maos death.

History books are to hard to write without making them become rather dry, but this book doesn't suffer from that.
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Format: Paperback
The death of Mao Tse Tung in 1976 brought to an end the terror that had characterised his twenty-seven year rule, which he had sought to hide behind a fictional history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and his own role in the creation of the Republic of China in 1949. His regime began with up to two million deaths as a consequence of land reform and 'counter-revolutionary' campaigns, using denunciation as a method of establishing guilt. Mao had no conscience - indeed it has been suggested he enjoyed killing - and was happy for millions of Chinese to die as a result of his policies. He considered there were too many humans on earth and while one death was a tragedy, a million was a statistic. The Hundred Flowers Campaign was launched to permit diversity of opinion but suppressed when it criticised the CCP. Mao's subsequent Anti-Rightist campaign was used to kill critics of his government. In 1958 the Great Leap Forward had a disastrous effect on the Chinese economy leading to widespread starvation and the death of up to thirty million. Mao blamed the famine on peasants refusing to meet their quotas.

Mao used the opportunity to remove opponents including Peng Dehuai and launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966 to kill perceived enemies. All but Zhou Enlai, Mao's faithful propagandist, fell with Zhou treated with contempt as Mao's status changed from leader to secular god. Amongst the fallen was Lin Biao, Mao's chosen successor. Mao's status enabled him through his wife Jiang Qing, to brainwash 'Red Guards' into support for his political objective of removing all opposition. The ideological robots did his bidding without realising they were being used. No-one knows how many people were killed during the Cultural Revolution.
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Format: Hardcover
1976 was a turning point in the history of China Chairman Mao died and the earth quake at Tangshan killed over 400,000 people.
The author describes the political in fighting that occured around the time of Maos death with "the gang of four"- which included the wife of Mao-fighting for control to continue the old way of life and Hua Guofeng, who was supportes by the army,who wanted to root out criminals and corruption.Huo won but was ineffectual and was replaced by Deng Xiaoping in 1979 who initiated a more liberal regime which resulted in great advances and the China we know today.
Well written,researched and highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
First the thing I liked best – the description of the death of Mao and the struggle to replace him from 1976-1978. The world could have been a significantly different place if a different power grouping had been able to seize the Chinese Politburo. The role of mass protest, and especially the fact that in 1976 Deng was popular with protestors in Tien am Mien Square was particularly interesting – especially in light of what he did in 1989.

However, the main conceit of the book is that when emperors die, disasters stalk the land. The 1976 Tangshan earthquake was, indeed a disaster, and one which was covered up by Chinese Authorities, however I didn’t see any connection with the death of Mao, so overall I didn’t see the relevance of including it in this book. Either story would have been interesting, but both, together, confused me.

Also the author intrudes too much into the story – telling us how difficult it is for him to assess the age of any rural Chinese over forty – due to the effects of malnutrition during the Cultural Revolution. He also mentions his Chinese grandparents – without explaining how he acquired them. To be honest, I don’t want to know, but this was an irritant.

Nonetheless a clear description of events I knew little about.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
its a very informative book but evrything seems to be dig at communism and a pro capitalist back hander.
would be great i just felt like i was reading a really biased book. devalued all of your statements
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