Reassessing the Cultural Revolution

cultural-revIn a new book review, Clemens Büttner of Germany’s Goethe University in Frankfurt reviews The Cultural Revolution at the Margins: Chinese Socialism in Crisis by Yiching Wu (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1266689).

Published by Harvard University Press, the reviewer states that Wu takes “an intriguing new approach to understanding the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution…. On the basis of a ‘decentered account of the Cultural Revolution’ (xvi) that focuses on events off the revolutionary centre stage…”.

Wu’s is an “alternative history.” To do so, class is “acknowledged and integrated into the narrative of the Cultural Revolution…”.

Büttner concludes, “Wu’s book is based on an exquisite selection of primary and secondary sources, is very well documented and clear in its argumentation.” He states that “by acknowledging and reintegrating the issue of class (in its various incarnations) into the narrative of the Cultural Revolution, Yiching Wu succeeds in providing a new and compelling explanation for the behaviour and actions of the Chinese party-state during the Cultural Revolution and the subsequent reform era.”

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