Failure of Charisma: The Cultural Revolution in Wuhan

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Oxford University Press, 1995 - Political Science - 345 pages
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Mao's failure to control the Cultural Revolution he unleashed is vividly exemplified by the case of Wuhan, a city plagued by factional violence, paralyzed by workers' strikes, and once officially condemned as a nest of 'counter-revolutionary' rebellion. Many studies of this period recount the pivotal 'Wuhan Incident' of 1967, when a bitter factional power struggle spun beyond to provide an in-depth analysis of Beijing's control. But this is the first book to provide an in-depth analysis of micro-politics in Wuhan from 1966 to 1976, and the first to examine the far-reaching theoretical implications of mass behaviour there. Wang Shaoguang fills a critical gap in the academic literature with his original empirical contribution, which is based on never-before-published archival data, personal interviews with more than 85 former political activists (including well-known factional leaders) and correspondence from his years as a Red Guard in Wuhan. This study demonstrates that Mao's charisma failed because his believers behaved rationally, and pursued, wherever possible (and in his name), their own gains and interests.

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Contents

The Roots of Discontent 1949 to 1966
23
An Old Game with New Victims June and July 1966
54
A New Game with New Players August to December 1966
69
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About the author (1995)

Wang Shaoguang is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Yale University.

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