April 4th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The world has changed: Now for the new order

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal by Peter Westmore

NEW ZEALAND Political divisions polarise across the Ditch

NEW ZEALAND Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

FREE SPEECH Intolerance brigade at UQ attacks professor of Law

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Victoria lifts moratorium of gas exploration

CHINESE HISTORY The Soong Dynasty: Three sisters who rules China

LAW AND SOCIETY Guilt by accusation: The kangaroos are roaming freely through Australia's legal system

GENDER POLITICS Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Australia is not safe in the borderless globalised world

SHOPPING AND SOCIETY The Ubermensch in the aisles

MUSIC We seem to have lost the point of counterpoint

CINEMA The Current War: Industrial miracle workers

BOOK REVIEW A dark trade that continues unabated worldwide

EBOOK READ THIS Both sides to this old story

LETTERS

AS THE WORLD TURNS

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19 epidemic

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

Books promotion page


The Cultural Revolution: A People's History 1962-76

Frank Dik├Âtter

$27.95


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Bloomsbury, London
Paperback: 432 pages
Price: AUD$27.95

Book description

Acclaimed by the Daily Mail as “definitive and harrowing”, this is the final volume of “The People’s Trilogy”, begun with the Samuel Johnson prize-winning Mao’s Great Famine. 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 50 people. When the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market 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 reveal the complex choices they faced, undermining the picture of conformity that is often believed 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 Dikötter 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 Dikötter’s extraordinarily lucid and ground-breaking “People’s Trilogy” is a devastating reassessment of the history of the People’s Republic of China.

About the author

Frank Dikötter is Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Professor of the Modern History of China at the University of London. He has pioneered the use of archival sources and published 10 books that have changed the way historians view and understand China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (1992) to his last book, entitled The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 (2013). Frank Dikötter is married and lives in Hong Kong.


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