A Project Syndicate Best Read of the Year
On the centennial of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, the definitive history of how Mao and his successors overcame incredible odds to gain and keep power.
Mao Zedong and the twelve other young men who founded the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 could hardly have imagined that less than thirty years later they would be rulers. On its hundredth anniversary, the party remains in command, leading a nation primed for global dominance.
Tony Saich tells the authoritative, comprehensive story of the Chinese Communist Party—its rise to power against incredible odds, its struggle to consolidate rule and overcome self-inflicted disasters, and its thriving amid other communist parties’ collapse. Saich argues that the brutal Japanese invasion in the 1930s actually helped the party. As the Communists retreated into the countryside, they established themselves as the populist, grassroots alternative to the Nationalists, gaining the support they would need to triumph in the civil war. Once in power, however, the Communists faced the difficult task of learning how to rule. Saich examines the devastating economic consequences of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the political chaos of the Cultural Revolution, as well as the party’s rebound under Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.
Leninist systems are thought to be rigid, yet the Chinese Communist Party has proved adaptable. From Rebel to Ruler shows that the party owes its endurance to its flexibility. But is it nimble enough to realize Xi Jinping’s “China Dream”? Challenges are multiplying, as the growing middle class makes new demands on the state and the ideological retreat from communism draws the party further from its revolutionary roots. The legacy of the party may be secure, but its future is anything but guaranteed.
There is arguably no organization in the world today that is more important to understand than the CCP…Saich’s [book] provides a comprehensive narrative of the CCP from its inception to this day…He is meticulous in his research and descriptions.
One of the best and clearest treatments of the subject to date…Tony Saich walks us through the myriad transformations the Party and its members have been through: from rebels to survivalists, revolutionaries to crushers of rebellion, and finally to socialist capitalists. With clarity and attention to detail…this is a truly authoritative text on one of the most successful political parties in history.
An extremely lucid, insightful history of the Chinese Communist Party. Saich’s readable narrative takes the CCP from its origins as a tiny group of revolutionaries in Shanghai a century ago to the powerful, repressive rulers of a world power today. From Rebel to Ruler should stand as an authoritative account of the party’s development.
The Chinese Communist Party is one of the most important, yet least understood, political organizations in the world today. Saich has produced a superb interpretation of the party for its hundredth anniversary. From Rebel to Ruler is both deep and nuanced in the account of its history, and incisive on the unique combination in the party under Xi Jinping of ideology, pragmatism, and sheer brute force.
The definitive, candid, and absorbing history of a political organization that counts 90 million members and indisputably rules as America’s most powerful rival. Drawing on priceless contacts made in China over decades, Saich describes how ideological underpinnings, ruthless campaigns, and the ‘coercing of conformity’ pushed the CCP through revolutionary zeal to its current all-powerful position. A vital account, based on magnificent research, that shows the party as a colossal, relentless, and enduring machine.
An unpretentious, humane, and deeply informed history of the Chinese Communist Party. Saich, whose considerable time in China adds depth and understanding to this excellent book, offers a clear narrative that does justice to the earlier history as well as present concerns. This will be our most reliable account of the history of the CCP for a generation.
Saich is a surehanded and deeply knowledgeable guide in this highly accessible tour of the entire sweep of the Chinese Communist Party’s century-long history. While the party now projects a self-image of unity, competence, and strength, Saich recounts a narrative replete with internal strife, uncertainty, and deep-seated insecurity. His reflections on the future of the party, and China, are sobering.
A sweeping history of the Chinese Communist Party, from its fledgling urban beginnings in 1921 Shanghai to today…Offers key insights into how the party survived the collapse of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe and the steep challenges facing current leader Xi Jinping. This exhaustive, well-informed chronicle sheds light on one of the world’s most consequential political institutions.
Gives a broad overview of the main characters, movements, and ideologies that have shaped the CCP… Saich provides a different angle by focusing on the inner workings, strategy, and personalities of the Chinese Communist Party…Presents the Party, in all its complexity, on its own terms. Saich is not simply offering commentary from an outside point of view, he is attempting to give readers the tools to access the CCP as they see themselves.
If you were to travel back in time to 1921 and predict that the Communist Party of China would rule over the world’s second-largest economy 100 years later, no one would believe you. In this definitive primer, Tony Saich explains how the impossible came true.
- 560 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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