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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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... such a disaster? Who was responsible? Ralph Thaxton’s Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China, Gail Hershatter’s The Gender of Memory and Chen Yixin’s essay ‘When Food Became Scarce’ all begin with individual experience.* Thaxton shows in meticulous detail how the crisis fractured the village of Da Fo in Henan Province, the desperate struggle ...

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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... about the evil effects of the drug. Prostitution, too, has been subject to revisionist attention. Gail Hershatter, one of the most prominent historians of China in the American academy, suggested in Dangerous Pleasures (1997), that, while prostitution was exploitative in general terms, running a brothel provided one of the few opportunities for a woman ...

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