Mao's Great Famine: A History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe

Friday, October 22, 2010
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Philippines Conference Room
  • Frank Dikotter

Between 1958 and 1962, China descended into hell." So opens Mao's Great Famine: A History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, Frank Dikötter's riveting and magnificently detailed chronicle of the Great Leap Forward. Using previously restricted archives, historian Dikötter reveals that under this initiative the country became the site not only of one of the most deadly mass killings of human history (at least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death) but also the greatest demolition of real estate - and catastrophe for the natural environment - in human history, as up to a third of all housing was turned to rubble and the land savaged in the maniacal pursuit of steel and other industrial accomplishments. Piecing together both the vicious machinations in the corridors of power and the everyday experiences of ordinary people, Dikötter at last gives voice to the dead and disenfranchised.

Frank Dikötter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and Professor of the Modern History of China on leave from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has published nine books on  modern China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China(1992) to China before Mao: The Age of Openness (2007). 

**Books will be available for purchase during this event.**