Eating Bitterness

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

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This volume will be of interest not only to historians, sociologists, and political scientists of modern China, but also to scholars engaged in debate about state-society relations, the politics of famine, and post-revolutionary gender conflict.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 24.89mm | 600g
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • English
  • 0774817267
  • 9780774817264
  • 2,458,199

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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.
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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


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Review quote

An important collection that contributes both new perspectives and rich data. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the Great Leap Famine and the early years of the PRC. -- Kathryn Egerton-Tarpley * The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol 71, Issue 2 *
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About Kimberley Ens Manning

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 Jr., and Wangling Gao
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