Reading: Mao's Great Famine

I’m currently reading “Mao’s Great Famine”, the first book in the “Peoples Trilogy” series by Frank Dikötter. The book covers the infamous Great Leap Forward period of 1958-1962 where Mao Zedong decided he would push China to surpass Britain’s industrial output within 15 years, resulting in widespread famine and suffering across China.

As I sit in my warm study reading the book it’s hard to comprehend the scale of death and misery that was heaped upon the Chinese people by the whims of this one man and the sycophants that surrounded him. Dikötter puts the number killed through famine or violence at greater than 45 million, which would put it close to half the number of people killed during the entire Second World War.

This is not a light read but I think the topic of China and their more recent history is increasingly important.