When one thinks of the Cultural Revolution in the West images of horrendous oppression and destruction often emerge from the mental vats of one’s mind. Bourgeois propaganda can only paint the movement as such. Few books dare to question this narrative. However, Mobo Gao in his book “The Battle for China’s Past” does exactly this.
Over the course of ten chapters the author examines the many reasons why this hostile line of thought prevailed in the Post-Mao years as well as the misconceptions initiated by the post-Mao leaders. By laying bare all of the opposition’s statements and debunking each claim one by one Mobo is able to show that while mistakes were made by the revolutionary leadership ultimately the majority of Chinese benefited; peasants, class enemies, and the whole of the Chinese nation were enriched.
While in his methodology some anomalous remain, such as his reliance on “emedia” and wide generalizing statements which hint at his large premise, his work is highly researched. The author read hundreds of books from all political viewpoints and scoured the internet finding the good as well as the bad. Everything is well documented and he presents his facts in a logical manner.
While not written in the most exciting style, nor likely to win any national awards, Mr.Gao’s insights will enlighten anyone who decides to pick it up.