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The Chinese Communist Party
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Book description

Ten engaging personal histories introduce readers to what it was like to live in and with the most powerful political machine ever created: the Chinese Communist Party. Detailing the life of ten people who led or engaged with the Chinese Communist Party, one each for one of its ten decades of its existence, these essays reflect on the Party's relentless pursuit of power and extraordinary adaptability through the transformative decades since 1921. Demonstrating that the history of the Chinese Communist Party is not one story but many stories, readers learn about paths not taken, the role of chance, ideas and persons silenced, hopes both lost and fulfilled. This vivid mosaic of lives and voices draws together one hundred years of modern Chinese history - and illuminates possible paths for China's future.


‘In this brilliantly structured anthology, the last century of the Chinese Communist Party is told through the perspectives of ten individuals. Their stories are the perfect antidote to heated political rhetoric on China that can obscure the human cost of geopolitical conflicts.’

Joanna Chiu - Toronto Star

‘This collection does something brilliant but increasingly rare in the present day - to treat the Chinese communist movement not as an abstract to be glorified or condemned, but as a series of human moments, complex, sometimes contradictory, and always fascinating. Whether it's a Moscow-returned activist in wartime China or the actions of a Mao-inspired fanatic in Peru, the extraordinary journey of this world-changing movement comes to life in this volume.’

Rana Mitter - author of China's Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism

‘The rich and complicated stories in these ‘Ten Moments’ call into question the overly simplistic portrayals of the Chinese Communist Party that dominate our understanding. The erudite but eminently readable tales in this book make cutting-edge scholarship in PRC history and politics accessible to a broad audience.’

Aminda Smith - author of Thought Reform and China’s Dangerous Classes: Reeducation, Resistance, and the People

‘Edited with care and creativity by a trio of accomplished historians, this well paced anthology uses life stories to place the Chinese Communist Party's first century in existence into a fascinating new perspective. An impressive volume.’

Jeffrey Wasserstrom - author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink

‘This timely work, compiled by the renowned Sinologists Hans Van de Ven (University of Cambridge), Timothy Cheek (University of British Columbia) and Klaus Mühlhahn (Zeppelin University), illustrates through personal stories why there is not one single narrative about the Party, but many, often wildly contradictory ones.’

Ernst Herb Source: Asia Sentinel

‘… There is plenty of color and moxie in The Chinese Communist Party: A Century in Ten Lives. Its 11 contributors, mostly historians from China, the United States, and Europe … present 'a series of snapshots' that explain what it was like, in each decade of the Party’s history, 'to live in and with the most powerful political machine ever created'.'

Martin Laflamme Source: The Los Angeles Review of Books

‘… impressive in calling for, and offering, a more nuanced and historically grounded response.’

Christopher Harding Source: Daily Telegraph

‘The most original of the books just published on the CCP is this one, edited by renowned scholars and sinologists Timothy Cheek, Hans van de Ven, and Klaus Mühlhahn - published by Cambridge University. Portraying ten lives that are not always the most obvious, more than a dozen authors from China, Europe, and America contribute to a book that follows the history of the party, its agents, and its achievements. One person is highlighted for each decade of the CCP's existence, and attempts are made to demonstrate that the Party's history is not one, but many stories.’

Hélder Beja Source: Parágrafo

‘Dickson’s book gives a useful overview of the various bodies that run China and the party’s involvement in them.’

Ian Johnson Source: New York Review of Books

‘… ten attractively written pen portraits of figures mostly unknown in the West, but who deserve to be better known. Taken collectively, however, something interesting, and perhaps unintentionally telling, emerges, for almost all of the authors have chosen to profile someone who was, in one way or another, a failure within the broader context of CCP history.’

Yuan Zhu Source: Mekong Review

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