Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview
Save to active project


This book has had a long gestation. I started chronicling China's Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) while it was taking place, for a variety of mainly British newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals as well as BBC TV and Radio. In 1968, I began researching the origins of this political convulsion. Three decades later I published the last volume in what had turned into a trilogy on the subject. In the meanwhile I had joined the Harvard faculty, and shortly after I arrived there, in the mid-1980s, a very distinguished historian asked me to give a course on the Cultural Revolution in a section of Harvard College's Core Program called Historical Study B. The formal remit of this section is to "focus closely on the documented details of some central historical event or transformation sufficiently delimited in time to allow concentrated study of primary source materials." My colleague explained that the assumption was that all the documentation was in and all emotion had been spent, thus providing the possibility of greater objectivity. I explained that very few reliable primary materials were available, and that in China, and even among some Western China scholars, emotions still ran deep over the events of the tumultuous Cultural Revolution decade. However, by this time I had taken on the co-editorship with John K. Fairbank of the final two volumes of the Cambridge History of China, covering the People's Republic of China, and had undertaken to write a chapter covering most of the Cultural Revolution period, and eventually I decided I might as well teach the course anyway. The course was unexpectedly popular and required a sourcebook of readings for the students. Preparing it, I found that most of the English-language materials had been written in the 1970s and early 1980s, mainly on the basis of the materials issued during the Cultural Revolution by Mao and his victorious leftist coalition. Significant materials were finally beginning to emerge in Chinese to permit presentation of a more balanced picture of events, steering between the Scylla of the Maoist radicals and the Charybdis of the Deng-era survivors.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mao's Last Revolution


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 694

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?