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Tyranny of the Ladle

James C. Scott: Mao’s Great Famine, 6 December 2012

Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao’s Great Famine 
by Yang Jisheng, translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian.
Allen Lane, 629 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 1 84614 518 6
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Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62 
by Frank Dikötter.
Bloomsbury, 420 pp., £9.99, May 2011, 978 1 4088 1003 3
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The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past 
by Gail Hershatter.
California, 455 pp., £37.95, August 2011, 978 0 520 26770 1
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... and youngest first and then many of the rest. In October 1960, at last, Mao Zedong was handed a frank report on mass starvation in Xinyang, and within a month investigative teams fanned out to the provinces to document the death toll. By the beginning of 1961, the policies of the Great Leap Forward had been rolled back and grain was being imported from the ...


Kerry Brown: The Cultural Revolution, 17 November 2016

... and Jiang Qing. It is widely seen as marking the Cultural Revolution’s formal launch – though Frank Dikötter in his new history of the period points out that it was only made public a year after it was issued to the administration’s inner circle.* Xi Jinping, China’s current president, was sent away from Beijing to a remote inland province to ...

Close Relations

T.H. Barrett: Tibet and the Dalai Lama, 2 April 1998

The Buddha of Brewer Street 
by Michael Dobbs.
HarperCollins, 288 pp., £16.99, January 1998, 0 00 225412 3
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The Book of Tibetan Elders: Life Stories and Wisdom from the Great Spiritual Masters of Tibet 
by Sandy Johnson.
Constable, 282 pp., £17.95, February 1997, 0 09 476950 8
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The Art of Tibet 
by Robert Fisher.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £7.95, November 1997, 0 500 20308 3
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Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations 
by Warren Smith Jr..
Westview, 732 pp., £59.50, December 1996, 0 8133 3155 2
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The Way to Freedom 
by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Thorsons, 181 pp., £7.99, February 1997, 0 00 220043 0
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Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart 
by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Thorsons, 238 pp., £8.99, February 1997, 0 00 220045 7
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Kundun: A Biography of the Family of the Dalai Lama 
by Mary Craig.
HarperCollins, 392 pp., £17.99, May 1997, 0 00 627838 8
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... this era in Chinese political thought was conveniently forgotten. Now, however, researchers like Frank Dikötter and Pamela Kyle Crossley are trying to piece together the attitudes to race and nation that first took on a modern Chinese guise in the early 20th century, since they provide important clues as to how the descendants of those impeccably ...

Untwisting the Pastry

Rana Mitter: Footbinding and Its Critics, 11 May 2006

Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding 
by Dorothy Ko.
California, 332 pp., £18.95, December 2005, 0 520 21884 1
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... which argues that opium had a long medicinal and aphrodisiac use in China dating back centuries. Frank Dikötter, Lars Laamann and Zhou Xun, historians based at SOAS, had gone further in Narcotic Culture (2004), suggesting that a ‘narcophobic’ modern state had created a largely spurious panic about the evil effects of the ...

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