Maoism
Julia Lovell

Book cover image

Narrated By: Nancy Wu

Duration: 21 hours and 43 minutes

What to expect

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***

'Revelatory and instructive… [a] beautifully written and accessible book’
The Times

For decades, the West has dismissed Maoism as an outdated historical and political phenomenon.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 re-evaluates 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’s 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.

Genre

General & world history, Political leaders & leadership, Political science & theory, Social & political philosophy, Marxism & Communism

Listen to a sample

Lovells’s descriptions of…global strands of Maoism are well-researched and colourful

Economist

Lovell has a gift for compressing long and convoluted histories via just the right stories, characters, moments, and statistics… In vivid, often grim detail, Lovell shows us how and why Maoism has proven better, both inside and outside China, at attacking state infrastructure than building it up

Daily Telegraph

Revelatory and instructive… [a] beautifully written and accessible book

The Times

Lovell breaks new ground and does so in a wonderfully well-written account packed with horrors, extraordinary characters and occasionally macabre humour

Tablet

Lovell is an accomplished storyteller with a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of China’s relationship with itself and the world

Prospect

[A] superb and chilling study

Sunday Times, *Books of the Year*

A landmark work giving a global panorama of Mao's ideology filled with historic events and enlivened by striking characters

Jonathan Fenby, author of The Penguin History of Modern China

Highly readable and well-researched book… timely

New Statesman

Wonderful

New Statesman

Lovell has produced a work which may well be the most harrowing, fascinating and occasionally hilarious book on the subject thus far

Scotland on Sunday

There is not a dull sentence in this scintillating and wry account of the global impact of Maoism

Evening Standard, *Book of the Week*

Julia Lovell has given us a masterful corrective to the greatest misconception about today’s China. For too long, visitors who marveled at China’s new luxuries and capitalist zeal assumed that Maoism had gone the way of its creator. That was a mistake. Lovell’s account - eloquent, engrossing, intelligent - not only explains why Xi Jinping has revived some of Mao’s techniques, but also why Mao's playbook for the “People’s War” retains an intoxicating and tragic appeal to marginalized people the world over

Evan Osnos, author of The Age of Ambition

Lovell takes us on an exhilarating journey, tracing the spread of Maoist theories across South-east Asia and then Africa, ending up in today’s China… The historical sweep of this book is impressive

Literary Review

A fascinating account of the influence of Maoism, during the cold war and beyond

Financial Times, *Books of the Year*

An exciting, alternative history of the 20th century that deviates from the well-rehearsed narrative that relays between Washington and Moscow