June 30th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY NSW electricity grid now at 'crisis point'

EDITORIAL China's pivotal role in Trump-Kim summit

CANBERRA OBSERVED Throwing our 8¢ in the ring over sale of ABC

OPINION Why populism has become popular among the populace

MEDIA Ramsay Centre gets all that' left from ABC's Drum

ENERGY Solar panels leave hidden carbon footprint

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson conviction conundrum

ENERGY Don't let our waste go to waste: energise it

OPINION We've moved from low standards to no standards

LITERATURE AND CULTURE Christian humour through the ages: Dante, Chaucer and Cervantes

ECONOMICS Trump, China, the WTO and world trade

WHY BREXIT? A tight little island

HUMOUR

MUSIC Contrary emotions: Following and leading the beat

CINEMA Incredibles 2: Just the average family of superheroes

BOOK REVIEW The main driver of our foreign policy

BOOK REVIEW Commitment at risk of obliteration

POETRY

LETTERS

Books promotion page


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

Frank Dikötter

$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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