Catalogue

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Salt of the earth : the political origins of peasant protest and communist revolution in China /
Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, 1997.
description
xix, 425 p. : map.
ISBN
0520203186 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, 1997.
isbn
0520203186 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1233253
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This original, important, and readable work offers a stimulating new interpretation of the Chinese Revolution and a mass of fresh, interesting evidence. Thaxton's argument breaks with conventional wisdom on a number of significant points and poses important challenges to all extant interpretations of the revolution as a whole. Thaxton's work explodes the simplistic dichotomies that have framed too many discussions of the Revolution itself and of the longer-term relationship between the CCP and the rural population.Salt of the Earthheralds a new post-Cold War era in our understanding of the Chinese Revolution."--Kenneth Pomeranz, author ofThe Making of a Hinterland "A most vivid and impressive contribution to a growing corpus of scholarly works on the various concrete ways in which the Chinese Communist Party was able to link itself to a rural 'mass base' in various areas of North China during the decades before 1949. Based on a judicious analysis of a vast body of oral history data drawn from interviews with peasants in three counties during the years 1985 and 1993, it sheds enormous light on the specific socioeconomic and cultural situation in one particular area while at the same time raising serious questions about both the Chinese Nationalist and Communist official histories of the period. Quite apart from its relevance to the general political history of China during those fateful years, it provides an amazingly vivid example of the possibility of doing local rural history in a way that brings alive the abstractions of socioeconomic and cultural history."--Benjamin Schwartz, author ofChinese Communism and the Rise of Mao
Flap Copy
"This original, important, and readable work offers a stimulating new interpretation of the Chinese Revolution and a mass of fresh, interesting evidence. Thaxton's argument breaks with conventional wisdom on a number of significant points and poses important challenges to all extant interpretations of the revolution as a whole. Thaxton's work explodes the simplistic dichotomies that have framed too many discussions of the Revolution itself and of the longer-term relationship between the CCP and the rural population. Salt of the Earthheralds a new post-Cold War era in our understanding of the Chinese Revolution."--Kenneth Pomeranz, author of The Making of a Hinterland "A most vivid and impressive contribution to a growing corpus of scholarly works on the various concrete ways in which the Chinese Communist Party was able to link itself to a rural 'mass base' in various areas of North China during the decades before 1949. Based on a judicious analysis of a vast body of oral history data drawn from interviews with peasants in three counties during the years 1985 and 1993, it sheds enormous light on the specific socioeconomic and cultural situation in one particular area while at the same time raising serious questions about both the Chinese Nationalist and Communist official histories of the period. Quite apart from its relevance to the general political history of China during those fateful years, it provides an amazingly vivid example of the possibility of doing local rural history in a way that brings alive the abstractions of socioeconomic and cultural history."--Benjamin Schwartz, author of Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-03-01:
Thaxton's microcosmic study of the relationship between local modes of peasant protest and the communist movement is a significant contribution to understanding the communist revolution in China. Focusing on three counties in the Hebei-Henan-Shandong border area, this community history relies on oral and written sources not available outside of China before the late 1980s. Thaxton is well aware of the pitfalls of doing oral history, and his research shows great methodological sophistication. He argues that rural people, especially the salt producers he examines, supported the communists in reaction to Guomindang attempts to penetrate and exploit local markets. The Chinese Communist Party did not create local collective activism but built on it, establishing alliances with local noncommunist leaders. Thaxton's work does not contradict earlier studies of the Chinese communist revolution, but brings rich new evidence to show how the communists succeeded at the local level. An essential work for any serious library collection on modern Chinese history and politics. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. E. Entenmann St. Olaf College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 1998
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Summaries
Long Description
On October 1, 1949, a rural-based insurgency demolished the Nationalist government of Chiang-kai Shek and brought the Chinese Communists to national power. How did the Chinese Communists gain their mandate to rule the countryside? In this pathbreaking study, Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., provides a fresh and strikingly original interpretation of the political and economic origins of the October revolution. Salt of the Earthis based on direct interviews with the village people whose individual and collective protest activities helped shape the nature and course of the Chinese revolution in the deep countryside. Focusing on the Party's relationship with locally esteemed non-Communist leaders, the author shows that the Party's role is best understood in terms of its intimate connections with local collective activism and with existing modes of local protest, both of which were the product of rural people acting on their own grievances, interests, and goals. The author's collection and use of oral histories--from the last remaining eyewitnesses--and written corroborative materials is a remarkable achievement; his new interpretation of why China's rural people supported and joined the Communists in their quest for state power is dramatically different from what has come before. This book will stimulate debates on the genesis of popular mobilization and the growth of insurgency for decades to come.
Table of Contents
List of Tables, Maps, and Figure
Acknowledgments
Peasant Memory and Oral History: A Note on Methodology
Bureaucratic Capitalism and the Emergence of Popular Antistate Protestp. 1
State Making and the Intrusion of the Shuijingtuan into the Peasants' Salt Marketp. 43
The Peasant Saltmakers' Struggle in Puyangp. 82
Qian Kou Village: The Police Attack on Prosperityp. 109
The Police Attack on Impoverished Qi Jip. 140
The Battle with the Bicycle Cops in Subsistence-Level Fanzhuangp. 166
Peasant Resentment, War, and National Resistancep. 198
Community, Culture, and the Persistence of Rural Collective Action: Qian Foji in the CCP-Led War of Resistancep. 240
The Popular Fear of the Return of the Kuomintang Fiscal Center and the Outbreak of Civil Warp. 279
Conclusionp. 319
Notesp. 333
Bibliographyp. 391
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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