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The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China (1971)

by Mark Selden

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311634,060 (3.75)3
Originally published in the early 1970s, The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China has proved to be one of the most significant and enduring books published in the field. In this new critical edition of that seminal work, Mark Selden revisits the central themes therein and reconsiders them in light of major new theoretical and documentary understandings of the Chinese communist revolution.… (more)
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Seldon wrote one of the standard works on the development of Yenan as a stronghold of Communism. He looks at how the CCP developed a policy that would have broad appeal to the peasantry and how that became official PRC policy, even into the Cultural Revolution.

Seldon first looks at the situation in Yenan, which was isolated from most of the civil war. The peasantry were not highly politicized prior to the CCP arriving there, but severe drought conditions, famine and corruption had led to general unrest. Once the CCP military strength could establish safe zones, they were able to introduce land redistribution and gain more peasant support.

Early CCP guerillas were little more than robin hood style bandits, but eventually developed a land-redistribution policy that gained large support. When Mao and the CCP leadership arrived after the Long March, the remoteness of Yenan made it an ideal HQ. It was also remote from Japanese incursions even after 1937. The United Front forced the CCP to suspend some of its more radical programs until after WWII. After the war, the CCP resumed those programs and worked on a policy of mass revolution instead of revolution from above. This, more than anything, is was Selden means by the Yenan way.

Almost 40 years after its initial publication, this remains a standard work of the development of CCP policy and strategy. It is a must read for any student of the CCP or PRC. ( )
  Scapegoats | Nov 20, 2009 |
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Originally published in the early 1970s, The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China has proved to be one of the most significant and enduring books published in the field. In this new critical edition of that seminal work, Mark Selden revisits the central themes therein and reconsiders them in light of major new theoretical and documentary understandings of the Chinese communist revolution.

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