China Jasper Becker Hungry Ghosts

ISBN 13: 9780684834573

Hungry Ghosts

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9780684834573: Hungry Ghosts

In the tradition of John Hersey's "Hiroshima," journalist Jasper Becker's penetrating account of China's four-year famine uncovers the truth behind one of the darkest chapters in history. "Hungry Ghosts" is the horrific story of the state-sponsored terror, cannibalism, torture, and murder during Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward, " an attempt at utopian engineering gone wrong. This is the unforgettable story of the century's greatest human rights disaster, in which more people died than in Stalin's purges and the Holocaust put together. Becker conducted hundreds of interviews and spent years immersed in painstaking detective work to examine the unprecedented madness that plagued China between 1958 and 1962. For the first time since it was so ruthlessly and categorically erased from history, Becker unearths what really happened during these years, and how the famine and terror could have been kept a secret for so long.

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Review:

This first authoritative expose of the 1958-1962 famine prompted by China's collectivization plan, "The Great Leap Forward," comes at a time when the cult of Mao is alive and well inside China, and while agents of Chinese influence are able to arrange audiences with a President. Via his painstaking research and reporting that included two treks through interior Chinese provinces, Becker tells how the famine occurred because ill-trained peasants were forced to undertake a gigantic and centralized industrial and agricultural expansion. The new factories, canals, and irrigation systems failed spectacularly, and in contrast to propaganda boasts of having economically outstripped the U.S., when in reality the populace was driven by starvation to cannibalism, slavery, and madness.

About the Author:

Jasper Becker is currently Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post. He has also written extensively on Chinese affairs for The Guardian, The Economist, and The Spectator. He lives in Beijing.

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