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Mao's Little Red Book: A Global History

Mao's Little Red Book: A Global History

Author: Alexander C. Cook (Editor)
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Mao Zedong's Little Red Book (Quotations from Chairman Mao) - a compilation of the Chinese leader's speeches and writings - is one of the most visible and ubiquitous symbols of twentieth-century radicalism. Published for the first time in 1964, it rapidly became the must-have accessory for Red Guards and revolutionaries from Berkeley to Bamako. Yet, despite its worldwide circulation and enduring presence there has, until now, been no serious scholarly effort to understand this seminal text as a global historical phenomenon. Mao's Little Red Book brings together a range of innovative scholars from around the world to explore the fascinating variety of uses and forms that Mao's Quotations has taken, from rhetoric, art and song, to talisman, badge, and weapon. The authors of this pioneering volume use Mao's Quotations as a medium through which to re-examine the history of the twentieth-century world, challenging established ideas about the book to reveal its remarkable global impact.


Advance praise: 'Alex Cook's collection of essays on Quotations from Chairman Mao explains this global phenomenon of the 1960s and uses it as a window to explore wider issues, from Chinese politics and society, to traveling theory across Asia, Africa and Europe, to popular appropriation of state ideologies. Contributions by specialists in Mao's works, history, international politics, literary theory, and music reveal the astonishing power of Mao's writings and what that tells us about ourselves.' Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia Advance praise: 'If transnational history is the thing these days, this strong collection of essays on the worldly travels of and local interpretive possibilities opened by Mao's Little Red Book in the 1960s and beyond, is a model of its kind. Topically coherent, strongly analytical, and surprisingly broad in its coverage, this anthology will undoubtedly become a great companion for classroom use and scholarly reference. A good read; a great book!' Rebecca E. Karl, New York University Advance praise: 'The most printed book in its time, Quotations from Chairman Mao is an ideal case study for a global intellectual history. Showing how its message travelled the world like a laser refracted into a thousand colours, Alexander Cook and his contributors have offered up a delightful and provocative pattern no one scholar could have assembled. Their chapters make up an exciting new picture of the global 1960s and their aftermath - and of the political upheaval that a text's readings can both reflect and abet.' Samuel Moyn, James Bryce Professor, Department of History, Columbia University, and author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010) Advance praise: 'Its earliest editions may have been blue and green, we now learn, but it is as the Little Red Book that the Quotations from Chairman Mao became known the world over. Half a century ago, its pithy slogans energized and guided restless revolutionaries in places as far apart as Oakland, Dar es Salam, Paris and Ayacucho. In this ground-breaking critical history, the authors weave sympathetic understanding and perceptive analyses into a fascinating account of the book and its global influence.' Michael Schoenhals, Lund University; editor of China's Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969: Not a Dinner Party (1996) and co-author, with Roderick MacFarquhar, of Mao's Last Revolution (2006).

Author description

Alexander C. Cook is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches modern Chinese history. His research examines Maoism in its domestic and global contexts. His publications include the chapter on 'Third World Maoism' in A Critical Introduction to Mao (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and a forthcoming book on the Gang of Four trial in China.

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Introduction: the spiritual atom bomb and its global fallout Alexander C. Cook; 2. A single spark: origins and spread of the Little Red Book in China Daniel Leese; 3. Quotations songs: portable media and the Maoist pop song Andrew F. Jones; 4. Mao quotations in factional battles and their afterlives: episodes from Chongqing Guobin Yang; 5. Translation and internationalism Lanjun Xu; 6. Maoism in Tanzania: material connections and shared imaginaries Priya Lal; 7. Empty symbol: the Little Red Book in India Sreemati Chakrbarti; 8. The influence of Maoism in Peru David Scott Palmer; 9. The book that bombed: Mao's Little Red Thing in the Soviet Union Elizabeth McGuire; 10. Mao and the Albanians Elidor Mehilli; 11. Partisan legacies and anti-imperialist ambitions: the Little Red Book in Italy and Yugoslavia Dominique Kirchner Reill; 12. Badge books and brand books: the Mao bible in East and West Germany Quinn Slobodian; 13. Principally contradiction: the flourishing of French Maoism Julian Bourg; 14. By the book: Quotations from Chairman Mao and the making of Afro-Asian Radicalism, 1966-1975 Bill V. Mullen; 15. Conclusion: in the beginning is the word - popular democracy and Mao's Little Red Book Ban Wang; Index.

Stock Information

General Fields

  • : 9781107665644
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : March 2014
  • : 228mm X 152mm X 17mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : April 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 9 b/w illus.
  • : 299
  • : 951.05092
  • : English
  • : Paperback
  • : Alexander C. Cook (Editor)