一路 BBS

 找回密码
 注册
搜索
查看: 56|回复: 0

A New Book from London about Chairman Mao

[复制链接]
发表于 10-1-2019 16:02:18 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
George Walden, Chairman Without Borders. Mao traveled abroad twice, to Moscow. He did not know the world, but it knew him. Wall Street Journal, Sept 28, 2019 (in the Review section ("C") every Saturday).
https://www.wsj.com/articles/mao ... borders-11569596545
(book review on Julia Lovell, Maoism; A global history. Knopf, 2019)

Quote:

(a) "In a 2018 BBC interview Jeremy Corbyn, the far left leader of the British Labour Party and possible future prime minister, referred approvingly to Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward (1958-62)—the biggest man-made catastrophe outside wartime in human history, in which up to 40 million Chinese perished. Amid widespread ignorance about the history of communism, the press scarcely noticed.

" 'Maoism: A Global History,' a highly readable examination of the Chinese dictator's global influence by Julia Lovell, a professor of history at Birkbeck College, University of London, comes at a timely moment. I was a British diplomat in Britain’s Beijing mission during the worst of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1969—what Ms. Lovell calls 'high Maoism'—and I am wary of any tendency among academics to play down the Chairman's wrecking activities. I was glad to see little sign of it here.

"Delusions about Mao began with 'Red Star Over China' (1937), the international best seller by Edgar Snow, a radical American journalist sporting English tweed suits. A roseate account of Snow's late-1930s stay in the communist base area in the north west, the book had its veracity guaranteed by being vetted by Mao himself. The text nurtured the ambitions of many a foreign revolutionary, and charmed the susceptible; decades later, in 'The Other Side of the River' (1962), Snow was sticking to his career-making mendacities, this time dutifully denying the deaths and famine that followed the Great Leap Forward.

(b) "Ms Lovell rightly notes that China provided foreign aid in order to compete with Russia for global revolutionary leadership, but she makes bold claims about its extent, seeming to suggest that this extravagance in part explains the Chinese penury of the 1970s. Later, she admits, China will never be able to calculate precise figures for African aid because of bad loans and local factors. What ravaged China's finances at the time was the Cultural Revolution itself.

"Ms. Lovell also deals only briefly with the Damansky Island armed frontier clash of 1969, a Maoist provocation whose consequences were enduring. * * * Academics were later to admire Mao's subsequent pivot towards Nixon, but how brilliant was it to launch such a madcap campaign in the first place, whose chief consequences were to wreck your country and leave you facing the world's two main nuclear powers, friendless? * * * Today, Ms Lovell suggests, Xi Jinping is China's most Maoist leader since Mao, as he seeks to turn residual adulation of the Helmsman to his own benefit. I know what she means, but there is a difference: Xi and those around him are far smarter and better informed than the insular, irrational, overpraised, stupendously self-defeating Chairman. Which makes today’s China all the more formidable.

My comment:
(a)
(i) The review -- perhaps the book also -- does not say anything we do not know.
(ii) This review appeared at page C6. On page C5 is a small enticement at the lower right corner that read: "Mao World-Wide[:] The chairman was [note the past tense] largely unknown to Westerners. Not so his revolutionary zeal and his Little Red Book.
(b) Birkbeck, University of London
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkbeck,_University_of_London
(Established in 1823 as the London Mechanics' Institute by its founder, Sir George Birkbeck)
回复

使用道具 举报

您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 注册

本版积分规则

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表