Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Deaths Than the T'aiping Rebellion

Lew Rockwell on what appears to be a must-read book: "Mao's Great Famine, by Frank Dikötter takes the Samuel Johnson Award for 'stunningly original' history of a communist regime" — Mao Killed 45 Million for His Great Leap Forward. A judge is quoted as saying that "this book changed my life — I think differently about the 20th century than I did before. Why didn't I know about this?"

The book is subtitled "The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962." I had thought that "China's most devastating catastrophe" was an event that had me asking "Why didn't I know about this?" when I first heard about it, the Taiping Rebellion, "a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty." Looking at numbers alone, Mr. Dikötter is right that the Great Helmsman was worse that the self-proclaimed "younger brother of Jesus Christ," as "[a]bout 20 million people died, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.