Bureaucracy, Economy, and Leadership in China by David BachmanIn this book David Bachman examines the origins of the Great Leap Forward (GLF), a programme of economic reform that must be considered one of the great tragedies of Communist China, estimated to have caused the death of between 14 and 28 million Chinese. While standard accounts interpret the GLF as chiefly the brainchild of Mao Zedong and as a radical rejection of a set of more moderate reform proposals put forward in the period 1956 to 1957, Bachman proposes a provocative reinterpretation of the origins of the GLF that stresses the role of the bureaucracy. Using a neo-institutionalist approach to analyse economic policy-making leading up to the GLF, he argues that the GLF must be seen as the produce of an institutional process of policy-making. This book offers a reinterpretation of one of the most important episodes in the history of the People's Republic as well as a framework with which to analyse the role of institutions more generally in the political economy of the PRC.
Mao's War Against Nature by Judith Shapiro; Alfred W. Crosby (Contribution by); Donald Worster (Contribution by)Judith Shapiro, in clear and compelling prose, relates the great, untold story of the devastating impact of Chinese politics on China's environment during the Mao years. Maoist China provides an example of extreme human interference in the natural world in an era in which human relationships were also unusually distorted. Under Mao, the traditional Chinese ideal of 'harmony between heaven and humans' was abrogated in favor of Mao's insistence that 'People Will Conquer Nature'. Mao and the Chinese Communist Party's 'war' to bend the physical world to human will often had disastrous consequences both for human beings and the natural environment. Mao's War Against Nature argues that the abuse of people and the abuse of nature are often linked. Shapiro's account, told in part through the voices of average Chinese citizens and officials who lived through and participated in some of the destructive campaigns, is both eye-opening and heartbreaking.
Eating Bitterness by Kimberley Ens Manning (Editor); Felix Wemheuer (Editor)When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, Mao Zedong declared that "not even one person shall die of hunger." Yet some 30 million peasants died of starvation and exhaustion during the Great Leap Forward. Eating Bitterness reveals how men and women in rural and urban settings, from the provincial level to the grassroots, experienced the changes brought on by the party leaders' attempts to modernize China. This landmark volume lifts the curtain of party propaganda to expose the suffering of citizens and the deeply contested nature of state-society relations in Maoist China.