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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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... another devastated province, seeking carefully to understand how some villages were effectively extinguished while others managed to limit the death toll. Mao’s Great Famine by Frank Dikötter and YangJisheng’s Tombstone have more ambitious goals. Each aims to understand how the post-liberation party-state created the structures of power and information that made such a massive famine possible ...

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