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Maoism

A Global History
Written by: Julia Lovell
Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 21 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: History, Political

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Shortlisted for The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2019

Finalist for The 2019 Cundill History Prize

Shortlisted for The Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Understanding

Shortlisted for Deutscher Prize

For decades, the West has dismissed Maoism as an outdated historical and political phenomenon. Since the 1980s, China seems to have abandoned the utopian turmoil of Mao’s revolution in favour of authoritarian capitalism. But Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’s Republic and the legitimacy of its Communist government. With disagreements and conflicts between China and the West on the rise, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growing.

The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War (and the international youth rebellions that conflict triggered) and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today - more than forty years after the death of Mao.

In this new history, Julia Lovell reevaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. It is a story that takes us from the tea plantations of north India to the sierras of the Andes, from Paris’ fifth arrondissement to the fields of Tanzania, from the rice paddies of Cambodia to the terraces of Brixton.

Starting with the birth of Mao’s revolution in northwest China in the 1930s and concluding with its violent afterlives in South Asia and resurgence in the People’s Republic today, this is a landmark history of global Maoism.

©2019 Julia Lovell (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Revelatory and instructive...[a] beautifully written and accessible book." (The Times)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian J. Smith
  • 26-11-19

Spellbinding

Maoism was, and in some ways still is, a global phenomenon. It was and is enigmatic, contradictory and mysterious. It is both spellbinding, enticing, and incredibly dangerous. Dangerous throughout the decades of Mao's time in power, and dangerous today. This book explores this phenomena through every possible angle, leaving no stone unturned, and at no point ever becomes dull. This, combined with the subject matter, make this book itself phenomenal. This book deserves high praise because the question of what is Maoism can be inherently difficult to answer. However, the question is ably answered in the first chapter, and the rest of the book is a tour de force of all Maoism's manifestations worldwide, from the Shining Path in Peru (itself a shocking chapter) Maoist insurgencies in India, Maoism in power in Nepal, to Maoism's various manifestations in Western European radicalism in the 60s and 70s. The book itself is timely. The current Chinese state is becoming increasingly hush hush about Mao era foreign policy, sticking to a line of non interference and non export of revolution, so understandably, the government would prefer to forget an era when foreign policy was the exact opposite. This fascinating and dangerous aspect of 20th Century geopolitical history risked getting lost in historical amnesia. However, this book, and the acclaim it is due, should ensure that this era is not only preserved in history, but studied and understood more thoroughly. Julia Lovell has created an Earth shattering piece of scholarship, that should be read and understood widely as a key chapter of 20th century history. Nancy Wu's narration is steady, but can be somewhat mechanical and lacking in emotion at times, but her Chinese accented voice seems appropriate and adds a novelty to the work. All in all, a phenomenal work, perhaps the greatest book of 2019.

3 people found this helpful

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  • LadyV
  • 28-08-20

In depth analysis

Of Maoism and how Maoist policy and rhetoric has influenced the world divided into comprehensive chapters. Left me more knowledgeable but with a heavy heart. Nancy Wu is an accomplished narrator.

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  • Jay Blake
  • 12-12-19

Pure propoganda

The author is clearly unfamiliar with Marxist history and theory, not in the sense that because she is a liberal she is wrong, there are liberals that disagree and liberals that are entirely ignorant, Julia Lovell is the latter. There are many instances in this book historians of any political ideology and all statisticians will recognise as straight up bad faith propoganda, questionable omissions of historical events or rationale and obvious lies. The only thing we can be sure of is that the CIA had no hand in the writing of this book as they have been shown to write propoganda pieces of far superior quality. this book is not worth reading, I deeply regret spending my credit on this. the voice acting is fantastic, couldn't fault it

5 people found this helpful

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  • His Three Calls to Cormac
  • 22-11-19

Excellent book, but please fix chapter headings

This book is excellent. Invaluable for anyone interested in the history of non-Soviet communism and it’s ‘useful idiots’. Particularly chilling since there are some people who still claim Mao did more good than harm. My one complaint is that there is a fault with some of the chapter headings where they don’t line up with the actual chapter breaks. Hopefully it can get fixed.