-- Foreign Affairs
The second volume in a trilogy which examines the politics, economics, culture and international relations of Chines from the mid-1950s to he mid-1960s, this volume tells the story of the Great Leap Forward -- Mao's utopian attempt to propel China economically and socially into the twenty-fist century by mobilizing his nation's greatest asset: its disciplined, manpower. The effort produced economic disaster and political dissension, and helped to precipitate the Sino-Soviet split. Today's leaders point to it as the beginning of two decades of national trauma, which ended only after the death of Mao and the purge of the Gang of Four. Those leaders have recently authorized the release of a mass of new documentation in the form of political reminiscences, economic statistics, and leaders' speeches. This volume is the first scholarly work to use the new material comprehensively, weaving it into the narrative along with the contemporary record and the revelations published in Red Guard newspapers during the cultural revolution. The result is the most detailed account and analysis to date of what went wrong and why.