Martin T. Fromm
(Cambridge University Press, 2019)
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In the 1980s, as China transitioned to the post-Mao era, a state-sponsored oral history project led to the publication of local, regional, and national histories. They took the form of written and transcribed personal testimonies of events that preceded the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution and, especially, the communist victory in 1949. Known as Wenshi Ziliao, these publications represent an intense process of historical memory production that has received little scholarly attention. Hitherto unexamined archival materials and oral histories reveal unresolved tensions in post-Cultural Revolution reconciliation and mobilization, informing negotiations between local elites and the state, and between party and non-party organizations. Taking the northeast Russia–Manchuria borderlands as a case study, Martin Fromm examines the creation of post-Mao identities, political mobilization, and knowledge production in China.
“In this prodigiously well-researched book, Martin T. Fromm traces the process of constructing an always incomplete ideological consensus in 1980s China, showing how post-Mao political discourse was the continuously negotiated product of a flexible, mediated, and in many ways collaborative effort. This is a fundamental contribution to our understanding of the Deng era.” –
– Fabio Lanza, University of Arizona
Martin T. Fromm is assistant professor of history at Worcester State University.