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The Death of Mao: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Birth of the New China
In the summer of 1976, Mao lay dying, and China was struck by a great natural disaster. This title recreates the tensions of that fateful summer, when the fate of China and the world were in the balance - as injured and starving people crawled among the ruins of a stricken city.
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Faber & Faber Non Fiction
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This was very interesting. Largely dwelling on 1976, the year that Mao died and there was an awful earthquake in Tangshen, killing more people than in the 2004 Tsunami but not much known about. It also fills in most of the history of China post 1949 in some detail. I did not know much about the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution but was amazed at the scale of it and how awful it must have been for those affected. The downfall of the Gang of Four after the death of Mao I do recall but ...more
James Palmer has traveled extensively in East and Central Asia and has worked with Taoist and Buddhist groups in China and Mongolia on environmental issues. In 2003 he won the Spectator's Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing. He lives in Beijing.