Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine

Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine

by Jasper Becker


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, October 28


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Chinese people suffered what may have been the worst famine in history. Over thirty million perished in a grain shortage brought on not by flood, drought, or infestation, but by the insanely irresponsible dictates of Chairman Mao Ze-dong's "Great Leap Forward," an attempt at utopian engineering gone horribly wrong.

Journalist Jasper Becker conducted hundreds of interviews and spent years immersed in painstaking detective work to produce Hungry Ghosts, the first full account of this dark chapter in Chinese history. In this horrific story of state-sponsored terror, cannibalism, torture, and murder, China's communist leadership boasted of record harvests and actually increased grain exports, while refusing imports and international assistance. With China's reclamation of Hong Kong now a fait accompli, removing the historical blinders is more timely than ever. As reviewer Richard Bernstein wrote in the New York Times, "Mr. Becker's remarkable book...strikes a heavy blow against willed ignorance of what took place."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805056686
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/15/1998
Series: Holt Paperback
Edition description: REV
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

Jasper Becker is currently Beijing bureau chief for the South China Morning Post. He has also written extensively on Chinese affairs for The Guardian, The Economist, and The Spectator. He lives in Beijing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
rayeula on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jasper Becker in Hungry Ghosts: "North Korea seems in the grip of a death-cult psychosis that leaves it impervious to rational notions of self-interest" (339). Bruce Cumings on the kind of racism that is allowed to run free when talking about North Korea: "Prominent Americans lose any sense of embarrassment or self-consciousness about the intricate and knotty problems of racial difference and Otherness when it comes to North Korea and its leaders" (49).I'm sure there are better books about the Great Leap Forward out there. The author doesn't even try to hide his pro-West, anti-Communist, orientalist biases.
autumnesf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a sobering book. It will keep you up at night and astound you that such things actually happened. But - I also got a different look at Mao. For the longest time I just thought he was horrible. Now I think there are many things he didn't really know about. The lengths his people would go to in order to make it look like his idea's were working were unbelievable. Everyone was so afraid of not being a success that they were very deceptive. I recommend this book to give you a different look at how Mao got away with so much. Warning - if canniblism is too much for you to handle, do not read this book. It is harsh. (
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago