Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China's Great Leap Forward and Famine by Kimberley Ens ManningEating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China's Great Leap Forward and Famine by Kimberley Ens Manning

Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China's Great Leap Forward and Famine

EditorKimberley Ens Manning, Felix Wemheuer

Paperback | March 1, 2012

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When the Chinese Communist Party assumed power, Mao Zedong declared that “not even one person shall die of hunger.” A little over a decade later, China was in the midst of the most devastating famine in modern history. Between 1957 and 1962 – the years commonly associated with the Great Leap Forward – some 30 million peasants died from starvation and exhaustion.

Rather than examining why party leaders stumbled so badly in their attempts to modernize China, Eating Bitterness explores what the Great Leap Forward meant for ordinary people in rural and urban settings, from the provincial level to the grassroots. Drawing on newly available sources including archival documents, oral interviews, and ethnographic data, the contributors offer new perspectives on the foundations and consequences of the Great Leap Forward and famine. They investigate the operation of people’s communes, resource allocation, power and decision making at the local level, and rural resistance and acquiescence.

This landmark volume lifts the curtain of officially propagated images of mass mobilization to expose the uneven and deeply contested nature of state-society relations in Maoist China and the role that history writing and memory have played in shaping narratives of the recent past.

Kimberley Ens Manning is an associate professor of political science at Concordia University. Felix Wemheuer is an assistant professor in the Department for East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna. Contributors: Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik, Richard King, Xin Yi, Wang Yanni, Gao Hua, Yixin Chen, Jeremy Brown, Ralph A. Thaxton J...
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Title:Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China's Great Leap Forward and FamineFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.84 inPublished:March 1, 2012Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774817275

ISBN - 13:9780774817271

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Table of Contents

Introduction / Kimberley Ens Manning and Felix Wemheuer

1 Re-Imagining the Chinese Peasant: The Historiography on the Great Leap Forward / Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

2 Romancing the Leap: Euphoria in the Moment before Disaster / Richard King

3 The Gendered Politics of Woman-Work: Rethinking Radicalism in the Great Leap Forward / Kimberley Ens Manning

4 “The Grain Problem Is an Ideological Problem”: Discourses of Hunger in the 1957 Socialist Education Campaign / Felix Wemheuer

5 On the Distribution System of Large-Scale People’s Communes / Xin Yi

6 An Introduction to the ABCs of Communization: A Case Study of Macheng County / Wang Yanni

7 Food Augmentation Methods and Food Substitutes during the Great Famine / Gao Hua

8 Under the Same Maoist Sky: Accounting for Death Rate Discrepancies in Anhui and Jiangxi / Chen Yixin

9 Great Leap City: Surviving the Famine in Tianjin / Jeremy Brown

10 How the Great Leap Forward Famine Ended in Rural China: “Administrative Intervention” versus Peasant Resistance / Ralph A. Thaxton Jr.

11 A Study of Chinese Peasant “Counter-Action” / Gao Wangling

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

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.Explaining how a Communist regime that came to power with peasant support could stumble so badly is a task that has engaged many scholars. Eating Bitterness is a very welcome addition to this literature. Several of its authors have had access to sources that only opened up recently, especially local archives; still others report findings from years of doing oral history in the villages. It will be an attractive reader in history and politics courses on contemporary China. - Thomas P. Bernstein, co-author of Taxation without Representation in Contemporary China