The Chinese Communist Party to 1949

Tony Saich and Nancy Hearst

in Chinese Studies

ISBN: 9780199920082
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:
The Chinese Communist Party to 1949

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  • East Asian Studies
  • Asian History
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There is a vast array of materials available to assist in the study of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before 1949. In China this is aided by the presence of a large number of officially employed researchers at party research centers and related archives. To earn their keep, these researchers have to put out publications. Availability of materials was boosted by the start of reforms in 1978 and preparations for the 1981 official party history. Given that, especially in the early years of reform, when expression of personal opinions could be dangerous, many of the released publications were documentary collections or chronologies. These came in several different varieties, based on either historical periods, particular events, or the lives of key individuals. These materials were complemented by memoirs of key figures who wanted to ensure that their version of history was in the public eye. This makes selection very difficult. Some of the works that follow are a must for students and scholars; others are personal favorites of the compilers and should be treated as exemplary of the types and varieties of sources that are available for the study of the CCP before 1949. More recently, materials from China have allowed researchers to conduct more detailed research on the social and economic transformations wrought by CCP presence and the difficulties the party had in maintaining local support. This has meant that, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, we have seen fewer monographs that attempt to paint the broader picture of the sweep of the CCP revolution. Instead, there are many fine-grained analyses of particular events or CCP activities in specific locales that reveal the extremely complex and multifaceted nature of the Chinese revolution.

Article.  10863 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Studies ; Asian History ; East Asian Philosophy ; East Asian Religions

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