Forwarded from Dan Vukovich: re-publish Manufacturing History?
Saul Thomas <email@example.com>
Wed, 28 Jan 2004 07:22:12 -0600
Hi all, and happy new year,
Matt, I agree with your diagnosis and your desire to get this text in
circulation. Ive also been wanting to read this for quite some time. The
only related thing Ive seen has been the petition/letter that was floating
around on the net years ago (also from csg I recall).
MR press would be I think the or an obvious place to publish this. If Bob
Weil is out there, and since he's published with them, maybe he can chime
in here. I took a class with John Foster years ago, and would be happy to
run this by him too. But I think the first step would of course be to get
the authors and editors on board, and see if they are interested. Come to
think of it, maybe the texts could be put up at the csg web site at some
point? Yet another option would be to add some more pieces to the
Manufacturing Truth collection (like Mobo's if its still available) and try
to re-publish it that way. Its an important topic, and Im not just saying
that b/c I'm working on a chapter on the changes in the historiography of
Mao in the West
(in sinology and American culture). (Though Im not focussing on the Li
There is a useful piece by Margaretta Jolly on the Li book, on its
contradictions and the genre of "creative" biography-writing (Biography
(2000) 481-503), if youre interested. I have a downloaded copy of it if
its of interest to anyone.
Mobo, is the review you mention the one from 1998 in BCAS on writings by
Chinese expats? If not, would you care to circulate it? Hope its a nice
summer down under!
Daniel F. Vukovich Visiting Humanities Scholar Kresge College University of
California -- Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 95064
----- Original Message ----- From: "Mobo Gao" <Mobo.Gao@utas.edu.au> To:
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 3:18 PM Subject:
Re: re-publish Manufacturing History?
Frederick Teiwes might have written something. I once sent a piece to the
China Quarterly which included a critique of the book by citing
Manufacturing History; but it was knocked back.
At 07:47 PM 8/01/2004 +0000, you wrote: Please see my blog entry:
Several years ago the CSG published a collection of articles debunking
Random House's book The Private Life of Chairman Mao (1994). Within a few
months after publication of the Random House book, numerous Chinese
scholars and prominent individuals had already spoken out against the book
in the Chinese language media in mainland China and abroad, so that few
scholars who paid attention to the Chinese media even took the book
seriously anymore. This criticism, however, somehow failed to find its way
into the English language media. CSG tried to resolve this situation by
giving a presentation on the book's problems at the "Cultural Revolution
Revisited" conference in 1996 (or was it the Socialist Scholars
Conference?) and publishing its collection of articles, Manufacturing
History: Sex, Lies, and Random House's Memoirs of Mao Physician.
Unfortunately, rather than seeking larger scale publication and marketing
for the collection, CSG only distributed a few copies to those who
requested it. It's not available in any academic library that I'm aware of,
and a google search for the title yields only our website, MIM (who claims
to have copies for sale), and the Socialist Scholars Conference. Meanwhile,
Random House's book has remained a best-seller, stocking the shelves of
major bookstores (in the conspicuous absence of any remotely progressive
China scholarship, especially with regard to Mao's reputation), and even
being taught in some universities. I almost vomited when I looked at
Amazon's page for customer reviews of the book: review after review, the
book is praised as "a miracle" that "masterfully reveals" Mao's "true
nature" as "a disgusting, perverted and ignorant mass murderer". Someone
even exhorts us to "tear down Mao's portrait off Tiananmen square already!"
And this goes on for 53 reviews! I plan to post a review of my own, but I
hope many of you will also post comments, even if only a sentence, so we
can try to counter-balance this trash. Of course writing reviews on Amazon
won't change much, but it's better than nothing.
More importantly, I'd like to open up discussion as to the possibility of
pursuing larger scale publication and distribution of Manufacturing
History. At the least, I think Dong Xulin's chapter should be published in
a China Studies journal and/or a mainstream progressive journal such as
Monthly Review. Perhaps other criticisms have already been published in
English? If so, I haven't been able to find them by searching the internet.
And they certainly haven't had an impact on how the Random House book is
perceived by mainstream China Studies, in the U.S. anyway. The vilification
of Mao continues to play a significant role in the negative representation
and "remembering" of "really existing socialism" that has become such an
obstacle for the Left today, so I think we should use whatever resources we
have available to fight it.
"We should learn from Sun Wukong, the monkey king: he swings his
golden-banded cudgel and shatters the firmament; his anti-dogmatism is
manifested in doing as he pleases" ---Mao Zedong
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