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The Cultural Revolution in China

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In this documentary investigation the author calls upon the Chinese themselves to explain their revolution. Professor Robinson has visited China and from conversations, reported here, and from the key documents which have never before been published in the West, attention is focused on the phenomenon most puzzling to those outside China - a ruler so hostile to his own administration that he incites and leads a nation-wide popular revolution against it.

Cover design by Robert Hollingsworth

160 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1969

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About the author

Joan Robinson

229 books38 followers
Joan Violet Robinson FBA was a British post-Keynesian economist who was well known for her work on monetary economics and wide-ranging contributions to economic theory.

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5 stars
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6 (42%)
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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Nick Davies.
1,532 reviews44 followers
November 23, 2020
A fascinating read - for a number of reasons. Though I am sure I only took in and fully understood half of what I read, as this book was on a subject about which I previously knew absolutely nothing, I did end up feeling my getting a partial understanding was nevertheless a good thing. Though this was written and published in about 1970, and hence it was quite dated, the book offered a very intriguing 'snap-shot' of Western academic views of China at that time. Though it was repetitive, this did help reinforce the key messages of the book.

It occurred to me (reading the sections detailing the leader's justification for the cultural uprising) also that there was a lot of similarity between the attempts of Chairman Mao to persuade the masses to follow his vision, and the language used in religious texts/treatises. Personality cults. Dodgy reasonings, forceful people in power using fear and telling the public what to believe. Hundreds of thousands, millions dead as a consequence.
Profile Image for Yumeng.
13 reviews
January 30, 2022
This book aged like milk.

Written at the start of the Culture Revolution, the book is meant to explain the series of events from ‘the Chinese perspective’ — as the author visited the country herself in 1967. However, it only presented a one-sided view from the part of the People that started the revolution: the propaganda-fuelled side.

Intended to introduce the movement away from the Western press coverage, the book only succeeded half-way: translating and explaining the actual propagandas. It is filled with official reports and anecdotes used to promote the movement among less educated audience. Whilst the author’s personal interpretation is fairly limited, the positive tone regarding Mao’s instructions was apparent and taken at face value.

Although the author couldn’t have possibly foreseen the violent future this movement would move towards, the examination of political accounts was obviously sided with the ‘executors’ or the Leftists. The evidence provided could have been better analysed and explained (the political intentions were clear to anyone barely knows anything about politics).

It succeeded in providing a detailed account from the Party and Leftists regarding their intentions and ambitions. This alone makes the report stand out from its contemporaries, I suppose. As an economist, this Mao-era China would have interested the author greatly, should the conducts have matched the arguments better.
Profile Image for Nathan  Fisher.
154 reviews35 followers
August 3, 2017
giving it two stars because i read it to bulk up on joan robinson's maoist sympathies but it's mainly a collection of source documents. those are rad and all, but the 'by joan robinson' here is a bit oversold.
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

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