Hungry Ghosts by Jasper Becker

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In the tradition of John Hersey's "Hiroshima," journalist Jasper Becker's penetrating account of China's four-year famine uncovers the truth behind one of the darkest chapters in history. "Hungry Ghosts" is the horrific story of the state-sponsored terror, cannibalism, torture, and murder during Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward, " an attempt at utopian engineering gone wrong. This is the unforgettable story of the century's greatest human rights disaster, in which more people died than in Stalin's purges and the Holocaust put together. Becker conducted hundreds of interviews and spent years immersed in painstaking detective work to examine the unprecedented madness that plagued China between 1958 and 1962. For the first time since it was so ruthlessly and categorically erased from history, Becker unearths what really happened during these years, and how the famine and terror could have been kept a secret for so long.

About Jasper Becker

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Jasper Becker, an award-winning author, has worked as a foreign correspondent for twenty-five years, including fifteen years based in Beijing. He is author of Hungry Ghosts, The Chinese, and, most recently, Rogue Regime: Kim Jong Il and the Looming Threat of North Korea. An expert on East Asianhistory and politics, Becker's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New Republic, The London Review of Books, National Geographic, and Time Asia.
Published February 3, 1997 by Free Press. 368 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The first serious attempt to unearth the truth of the massive human tragedy behind the ""Great Leap Forward"" in China between 1958 and 1961.

Feb 01 1997 | Read Full Review of Hungry Ghosts

Kirkus Reviews

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It is an extraordinary story, in which the errors that led Stalin to devastate agriculture in the Soviet Union, killing 11 million peasants, were duplicated in China by Mao, at the cost of another 30 million lives.

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Publishers Weekly

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Becker, Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post, lays bare the facts surrounding the worst famine of modern times.

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London Review of Books

It is true that China has the world’s largest population, and true, too, that if China continues to modernise at current rates – and shifts, as other modernising populations have, from a diet of grain to one richer in meat – then by the middle of the 21st century it will have to import enormous a...

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