People's China: A Brief History / Edition 2

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Now substantially revised and updated, this balanced and lively history of the People's Republic of China offers a narrative and interpretive appraisal of this great nation since its post-World War II beginnings. Examining first the historical circumstances of the Chinese revolution and the cast of characters who seized power in 1949 after decades of national disintegration and defeat, the author then goes on to illuminate such epic events as the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao reforms. Addressing the bold economic reform of the 1980s, this new edition critically analyzes the cry for democracy which tragically led to the 1989 bloodshed in Tiananmen Square, taking full account of the confrontation's aftermath. Looking at the '90s, the text examines the efforts of China's aging leadership to regain control and to find a place in a radically changed international environment. Complete with illustrative biographies of major figures since 1949, this book tells the essential story of contemporary China: the background, the ideology, the massive campaigns, the bureaucratization, the blunders, and the achievements.

A balanced and lively history of the People's Republic of China, it sketches the historical circumstances of the Chinese revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for previous editions:

"A major success. Written with unusual clarity and simplicity, it is also based on deeply understood, profoundly digested knowledge."--History: Reviews of New Books

"The narrative is useful and rich inasmuch as it traces these campaigns quite vividly within the space of just 350 pages....The excellent portraits of Chinese leaders and the graphs add considerably to the value of this extremely useful volume."--International Studies

"A lucid, dispassionate account of Chinese history during the last four decades. It is based on sound, scholarly research, and reads extremely well. A valuable contribution."--E-tu Zen Sun, Pennsylvania State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195081855
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/1/1993
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note on the Romanization of Chinese Words
Introduction 3
1 Old China and Young Revolutionaries 10
Village China and Young Mao 10
To the City 17
Unification, Invasion, and Civil War 22
Personalities and Causes 32
Was China Ripe for Revolution? 43
2 Revolutionaries Seize Power: 1949-52 50
Establishing Sovereignty 51
Installing the New Order 55
The Korean War 65
Campaigns 68
Disappointments, Ironies, and Contradictions 79
3 Socialist Transformation: 1953-57 83
The First Five-Year Plan 85
The High Tide of 1955 91
The Eighth Party Congress, September 1956 102
The Hundred Flowers Campaign 105
4 The Great Leap Forward: 1958-60 110
Initial States of the Great Leap 111
The Great Leap in the Ascendant 120
The Great Leap in Decline 132
5 Depression, Recovery, and Struggle at the Top: 1960-65 142
The Immediate Repercussions of the Great Leap 143
Political Crisis 150
6 The Cultural Revolution: 1966-69 178
Participants 178
Tidal Wave 181
The Flood Recedes 194
7 The Cultural Revolution in Retreat: 1969-76 205
Failure to Consolidate Radical Rule: 1969-71 206
The Uneasy Regime of the Moderates: 1972-75 216
Mao's Final Months and the Arrest of the Gang of Four: 1976 229
An End and a Beginning 235
8 Crossing the River, Groping for the Stones: Reform in the 1980s 236
Power Struggle 236
Socialist Economics with Chinese Characteristics 241
Political Dilemmas 250
Foreign Policy 262
Chinese Society Under Reform 269
Political Tensions 272
9 "We Must Not Let the Next Generation Pour a Bucket of Excrement on Our Heads": The Tragedy at Tiananmen 279
Seven Extraordinary Weeks 280
10 The Nineties: Two Faces of China 296
Regaining Control 296
The Stern Face of Authority 303
Xiaokang: The Happy Face of "Modest Prosperity" 311
New World, New Possibilities 317
Chinese Society and Culture: Trends and Problems 327
Notes 335
Suggested Readings 349
Index 374
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