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Hungry Ghosts

Mao's Secret Famine

Jasper Becker

Holt Paperbacks

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."

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Praise for Hungry Ghosts

"An accessible, masterly account of the greatest peacetime disaster of this century."--The New York Times Book Review
"An accessible, masterly account of the greatest peacetime disaster of this century."--The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jasper Becker

  • 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.
  • Jasper Becker
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    Hungry Ghosts

    Mao's Secret Famine

    Jasper Becker

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