Mao Killed 45 Million for His Great Leap Forward

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Mao’s Great Famine, by Frank Dikötter takes the Samuel Johnson Award for “stunningly original” history of a communist regime. To understand China, you must read this book, said one of the judges. Said another, “this book changed my life — I think differently about the 20th century than I did before. Why didn’t I know about this?’ We feel we know who the villains of the 20th century are — Stalin and Hitler. But here, fully 50 years after the event, is something we did not know about. It’s a testament to the power of non-fiction, that it can rock you back on your heels.”

2:51 pm on July 6, 2011