Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao’s Great Famine

James C. Scott writes:

The Chinese edition of Yang Jisheng’s Tombstone caused a sensation when it came out in Hong Kong in 2008 and Yang has been described as the Great Leap Famine’s Solzhenitsyn. Tombstone combines telling details with a rigorous historical reconstruction from oral and written sources, all assembled to allow us to understand how and why the famine occurred. The product of a lifetime of devoted research,Tombstone is a monument. As Yang explains, the book is intended first as a tombstone for his father, who died of starvation in 1959; ‘second … to erect a tombstone for the 36 million Chinese who died of starvation; and third … to erect a tombstone for the system that brought about the Great Famine’.

(LRB 6 December 2012)

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