“A blow-by-blow account … An important corrective to the conventional view of China's rise.”--Financial Times
From internationally renowned historian Frank Dikötter, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, a mythshattering history of China from the death of Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping.
Through decades of direct experience of the People's Republic combined with extraordinary access to hundreds of hitherto unseen documents in communist party archives, the author of The People's Trilogy offers a riveting account of China's rise from the disaster of the Cultural Revolution. He takes us inside the country's unprecedented four-decade economic transformation--from rural villages to industrial metropoles and elite party conclaves--that vaulted the nation from 126t largest economy in the world to second largest. A historian at the pinnacle of his field, Dikötter challenges much of what we think we know about how this happened. Casting aside the image of a society marching unwaveringly toward growth, in lockstep to the beat of the party drum, he recounts instead a fascinating tale of contradictions, illusions, and palace intrigue, of disasters narrowly averted, shadow banking, anti-corruption purges, and extreme state wealth existing alongside everyday poverty. He examines China's navigation of the 2008 financial crash, its increasing hostility towards perceived Western interference, and its development into a thoroughly entrenched dictatorship with a sprawling security apparatus and the most sophisticated surveillance system in the world. As this magisterial book makes clear, the communist party's goal was never to join the democratic world, but to resist it--and ultimately defeat it.
About the Author
Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His books have changed the way historians view China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China to his award-winning People's Trilogy documenting the lives of ordinary people under Mao. He lives in Hong Kong.
“A useful summary fusing together a wildly diverse set of decades of China under Communist rule, emphasizing just how the party has mutated in form and function.” —NPR Online
“A clear-eyed and detailed account.” —The Guardian
“A blow-by-blow account … An important corrective to the conventional view of China's rise.” —Financial Times
"One of the most insightful and nuanced looks at the complex rise of China since the Second World War ... engrossing and riveting." - The Diplomatic Courier
“A revolutionary book.” —Sunday Times
“Highly-readable.” —New Statesman
“Dikötter delivers an excellent, highly critical description of China's spectacular expansion that emphasizes banking, industrial policy, trade, and currency … a richly informative, disquieting history.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dikötter (The People's Trilogy) debunks the myth of China's miracle economy in this expert study ...Extensively researched and cogently argued, this is a must-read for China watchers.” —Publishers Weekly
“If [The Cultural Revolution] were widely circulated in China, it could undermine the legitimacy of the current regime ... significant event in our understanding of modern China.” —New York Times Book Review on THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION
“Mesmerizing ... The Chinese themselves suppress this history, but for anyone who wants to understand the current Beijing regime, this is essential background reading.” —Anne Applebaum, on THE TRAGEDY OF LIBERATION
“Dikötter performs here a tremendous service by making legible the hugely controversial origins of the present Chinese political order.” —Tim Snyder, on THE TRAGEDY OF LIBERATION