Mao's War against Nature by Judith Shapiro
Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China (Studies in Environment and History)

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In clear and compelling prose, Judith Shapiro relates the great, untold story of the devastating impact of Chinese politics on China's environment during the Mao years. Maoist China provides an example of extreme human interference in the natural world in an era in which human relationships were also unusually distorted. Under Mao, the traditional Chinese ideal of "harmony between heaven and humans" was abrogated in favor of Mao's insistence that "Man Must Conquer Nature." Mao and the Chinese Communist Party's "war" to bend the physical world to human will often had disastrous consequences both for human beings and the natural environment. Mao's War Against Nature argues that the abuse of people and the abuse of nature are often linked. Shapiro's account, told in part through the voices of average Chinese citizens and officials who lived through and participated in some of the destructive campaigns, is both eye-opening and heartbreaking. Judith Shapiro teaches environmental politics at American University in Washington, DC. She is co-author, with Liang Heng, of several well known books on China, including Son of the Revolution (Random House, 1984) and After the Nightmare (Knopf, 1986). She was one of the first Americans to work in China after the normalization of U.S.-China relations in 1979.

About Judith Shapiro

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Published March 5, 2001 by Cambridge University Press. 332 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Much has been written on the human suffering in China under Mao Zedong, and a growing literature has examined the environmental degradation of this period.

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The New York Review of Books

First, although Mao unquestionably bears a heavy responsibility for the destructive assault on the Chinese environment in the second half of the twentieth century, he had plenty of help, not just from his comrades in the leadership but from ordinary people and intellectuals who either hoped that ...

Oct 18 2001 | Read Full Review of Mao's War against Nature: Pol...

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