The Best Books on The Cultural Revolution | Five Books Expert RecommendationsMake Your Own List. Countries do have to come to terms with their own history, and it's unhealthy that China has not yet come to terms with the Cultural Revolution, argues the West's leading scholar of the period, Roderick MacFarquhar. He chooses the best five books on the Cultural Revolution. Do you want to tell me why you chose it? There have been lots of books about the Red Guard movement; individual Red Guards who got out of China have written them. The most well-known is, of course, Jung Chang, who wrote Wild Swans ,which was partly about her experience as a Red Guard.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History 1962-1976 by Frank Dikotter – review
F ifty years ago this year, Mao Zedong issued the directive that launched the Cultural Revolution. By the time Mao died, just over a decade later, his final, extended purge had torn Chinese government and society apart. Public memory of these events remains fractured in China today. Leading novelists — Mo Yan , Tie Ning, Yan Lianke , Yu Hua — stress the sufferings of victims: the ordinary people persecuted by ideologues, opportunists and mindless thugs. Born-again neo-Maoists — many of them too young to remember the Mao era in any meaningful way — celebrate the Cultural Revolution as a utopian experiment in mass democracy. But reticence, above all, is the keynote of Cultural Revolution commemoration in contemporary China.
China is very much in the news these days, but it can be difficult to tell how we got here. The Cultural Revolution was Mao's last hurrah and the backlash led to China's economic miracle. The reaction also led to the reforms that precipitated the Tienamen Square protests, to which President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power and renewed repression of dissidents is also a reaction. While I am explaining things, let me tell you that contrary to Chinese tradition, I am listing the family names of the authors in this post last, as we have them in the library. These books are all about life during the Cultural Revolution: not the movers and shakers, but the overwhelming majority, mostly in small cities and villages.
The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History
We must make clear our stand and dare to show the sword. At this crux moment, communist China flirted with a drastic overhaul of its party-political legal system. Although the enterprise was ultimately stymied by political compulsions, it set a precedent for radical legal reform in the PRC, and for possible de-Maoification.