Forwarded from Dan Vukovich: re-publish Manufacturing History?

From Saul Thomas <>
Date 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!

yours, Dan

Daniel F. Vukovich Visiting Humanities Scholar Kresge College University of 
California -- Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 95064

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mobo Gao" <> To: 
<> 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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