A groundbreaking chronicle of the violent early years of the People’s Republic of China, by the author of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize–winning Mao’s Great Famine.
"The Chinese Communist party refers to its victory in 1949 as a 'liberation.' In China the story of liberation and the revolution that followed is not one of peace, liberty, and justice. It is first and foremost a story of calculated terror and systematic violence." So begins Frank Dikötter’s stunning and revelatory chronicle of Mao Zedong’s ascension and campaign to transform the Chinese into what the party called New People. Due to the secrecy surrounding the country’s records, little has been known before now about the eight years that followed, preceding the massive famine and Great Leap Forward.
Drawing on hundreds of previously classified documents, secret police reports, unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, eyewitness accounts of those who survived, and more, and told with great narrative sweep, The Tragedy of Liberation bears witness to a shocking, largely untold history, giving voice at last to the millions who were lost and casting new light on the foundations of one of the most powerful regimes of the twenty-first century.