THE WORLD AND CHINA, 1922-1972 by John Gittings


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Assembled with British dryness but with tongue perceptibly in cheek, this is a sketch of the foreign policy perspectives and pronouncements of Mao Tse-tung over the decades. Like the richer China: The Other Communism (1967) by K.S. Karol, this book endeavors to show that well before victory, Mao was more independent of the Soviet Union than has been said -- Gittings' citations of Mao's response to the Hitler-Stalin pact show the opposite. They also show Mao's nationalist pragmatism. Given Mao's position in the right wing of the Comintern, loyalty to Stalin and Chinese chauvinist calculations were far from incompatible. Second, Gittings shows that Mao has eagerly sought U.S. investments in China as of the mid-1930's. Gittings draws on statements excised from official editions of Mao's works. . .while at the same time the book includes a prefatory description of the agonizing exploitation of the 19th-century Chinese by foreign capitalists, and Gittings insists throughout upon Mao's admirable ""flexible"" anti-imperialism. The Korean War comes across as a mere interruption which temporarily forced Mao into an anti-American posture; Gittings brushes past Mao's refusal to give serious aid to North Vietnam, but -- with a certain archness -- concludes that the Chinese leaders ""are and always have been national revolutionaries, not internationalist conspirators."" The study was sponsored by the London School of Economics and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 1974
Publisher: Harper & Row