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Mao's Great Famine Audiobook

Mao's Great Famine

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Publisher's Summary

Between 1958 and 1962, 45 million Chinese people were worked, starved or beaten to death. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward. It lead to one of the greatest catastrophes the world has ever known. Dikotter's extraordinary research within Chinese archives brings together for the first time what happened in the corridors of power with the everyday experiences of ordinary people. This groundbreaking account definitively recasts the history of the People's Republic of China.

©2010 Frank Dikotter (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (54 )
5 star
 (22)
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 (23)
3 star
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Overall
4.2 (47 )
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Story
4.1 (47 )
5 star
 (19)
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    deborah Palm Coast, FL, United States 01-09-12
    deborah Palm Coast, FL, United States 01-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
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    "Seminal book on Mao's failures"

    This audiobook will expose what most of us never knew: the People's Revolution hid a devastating loss of life through starvation and exhaustion. I also learned about the cult of personality and the role the Soviets played in this disaster. My only complaint was that the listing of data became tiresome, like steel tonnage exported, etc.

    The best part of the story if the narration by David Bauckham. Clearly a well trained speaker of Mandarin, his articulation and inflection was spot on, and I never tired of his voice. Excellent book overall.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Ann Clark 11-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging history, bad pronunciation"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Parts of this recording may grate on the ears of anyone who speaks Chinese or has a firm idea of how Chinese names and places ought to be pronounced. At best, it's distracting, at worst it is hard to understand what names the narrator is attempting to pronounce. David Bauckham is otherwise a very competent and fluid narrator, which perhaps makes the Chinese pronunciation problems more noticeable.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Bauckham?

    Any narrator of similar competence, but who could pronounce the Chinese names and places mentioned in the text, would be a massive improvement.


    Any additional comments?

    There's plenty of available discussion about the importance of Dikotter's work in challenging Chinese orthodoxy regarding the Great Famine and Great Leap Forward. It's worth reading, as is the more thoughtful criticism of his arguments and methods in reaching his final figure of 45 million dead due to the famine.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Fish 06-27-15
    Eric Fish 06-27-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Great book, terrible audio reading"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator clearly has no background whatsoever in reading texts with Chinese words, and it seems he couldn't be bothered to learn even approximate pronunciations. I'm not a language snob, and by no means expect perfection in this regard, but the pronunciations were so bad that I often had no clue what he was talking about. For example, Guangzhou became "Gwang-zoo," Liu Shaoqi became "Liu Shao-kee." And those were just some of the ones I was able to figure out based on context. Virtually every name and place was pronounced incorrectly, and these incorrect pronunciations weren't even consistent. I could figure out most of the time what he meant to say by the context, but it was very annoying when I had no clue what place or person was being discussed because of the abysmal pronunciations. It undermines the value as a learning tool. Save your money and buy the print version.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 02-11-13
    Suzanne 02-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Amazing story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Mao's Great Famine to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the facts were laid out.


    Have you listened to any of David Bauckham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    How to wreck a country


    Any additional comments?

    Makes me want to learn more about China, before and after crazy Mao.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott J. Jones MD 06-15-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent but a bit over-cooked"

    The author establishes a number of historically important points, and the anecdotes which are portrayed are graphic and impactful. But this all could have been accomplished with the same zeal and perspicacity in half the number of pages.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shu 05-23-16
    Shu 05-23-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    18
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    "Linear"

    I finished the book right after Gulag. Compared with Gulag, Mao's great famine is to linear with less profound dive into the country's darkness and nature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • K. Rumph
    Edinburgh, UK
    5/22/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masterly, involving and informative"

    An excellent listen (of a long a detailed account that would have been a hard read I think). Combines vast detail with thought provoking insight

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    11/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book, poorly written"
    What did you like most about Mao's Great Famine?

    This is a great book about a shocking period of history. Despite the heavy subject matter I found it engrossing. I've read a number of books on the subject however at times I found them to be rather repetitive. Not so with this book, it remains very readable. Shame the Chinese will never get hold of a copy!!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book is called Mao's Great Famine, unsurprisingly there are very few highlights.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    And this is where it all went wrong. I would strongly recommend the book, but don't get the recording. I don't know who made the decision to give Mr Bauckham the task of reading this, but they should hang their head in shame. His Chinese pronunciation is abysmal. I appreciate that Chinese is a language most are unfamiliar with, but surely a prerequisite for narrating a book about China would at least be a rudimentary understanding of how to pronounce names and places. He wasn't even consistent in his mispronunciation. Completely ruined it.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, its quite depressing actually, only listen to it when the sun is shining.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe you could do a re-recording, I'd even give it a crack.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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