Iain Finlayson

The Times, 27 September 2010

The Great Leap Forward was more like two giant steps back, since the failure of the Mao-inspired GLF led directly to the Cultural Revolution of 1966 as a desperate strategy by Mao to maintain his personal prestige and political power. This book, based on recently released archives, tells the story not only of top-led revolution but also of opposition and subversion by an oppressed population. The story of a nation mobilised to create communist Utopia though the fast transformation of industry and agriculture, defeated by official corruption and incompetence at the cost of 45 million lives, is told here in detail and with honest outrage.