More people died in Mao's Great Famine than in the entire First World War and yet their story remains untold. This book offers a passionate and angry account of one of the 20th century's most nightmarish events: the killing of an estimated 36 million Chinese in 1958-1961 by starvation or physical abuse. It is based on survivors' testimonies.
Yang Jisheng was born in 1940. He worked for many years at Xinhua News Agency, until his retirement in 2001. From the early 1990s onwards Yang interviewed survivors and collected records of the Great Famine (1959-61), eventually accumulating some 10 million words of testimony. This was published in Chinese originally in two volumes (the English-language edition is edited down) and has been widely acclaimed as the book that not only preserved many extraordinary and terrible stories but also broke a widespread official silence on the subject. Tombstone remains banned in China.