• The Tragedy of Liberation

  • A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957
  • By: Frank Dikotter
  • Narrated by: Bruce Mann
  • Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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The Tragedy of Liberation

By: Frank Dikotter
Narrated by: Bruce Mann
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Publisher's Summary

Following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, after a bloody civil war, Mao hoisted the red flag over Beijing's Forbidden City, and the world watched as the Communist revolution began to wash away the old order. Due to the secrecy surrounding the country's records, little has been known before now about the eight years that followed, preceding the massive famine and Great Leap Forward.  

Drawing on hundreds of previously classified documents, secret police reports, unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, eyewitness accounts of those who survived, and more, The Tragedy of Liberation bears witness to a shocking, largely untold history. Interweaving stories of ordinary citizens with tales of the brutal politics of Mao's court, Frank Dikötter illuminates those who shaped the "liberation" and the horrific policies they implemented in the name of progress. People of all walks of life were caught up in the tragedy that unfolded, and whether or not they supported the revolution, all of them were asked to write confessions, denounce their friends, and answer queries about their political reliability. One victim of thought reform called it a "carefully cultivated Auschwitz of the mind". Told with great narrative sweep, The Tragedy of Liberation is a powerful and important document giving voice at last to the millions who were lost and casting new light on the foundations of one of the most powerful regimes of the 21st century.

©2013 Frank Dikotter (P)2020 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Tragedy of Liberation

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    5 out of 5 stars

I don't believe this is read by a real person

This is unlistenable. The reading is so robotic that I really do think this is some kind of experiment to auto-generate audiobooks from text.

To clarify I think Frank Dikotter's book is great. Glad I have the kindle book so I can still read it. I will not be listening to this.

9 people found this helpful

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Great book awful narrator

Annoying monotone can’t speak chinese odd stresses big disappointment for me was looking forward to listening to this

7 people found this helpful

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Narration is excruciating

Remember that scene in The Wrath of Khan where Chekhov gets the ear worm digging into his brain and he holds his ear, tries to get away from it and screams? It’s like that.

2 people found this helpful

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Essential for any student of history

Depressing but excellent. A page-turner, even. If only this book was part of every high-school curriculum. No one who reads this book can seriously argue that China under Mao did not methodically attempt socialism leading to communism.

The short section about the CCP killing everyone's dogs in the name of public health has particular relevance today. If the authorities can legally take away your presumption of innocence, force you to stay at home, wear a mask, and get vaccinated, they can also kill your pet.

2 people found this helpful

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The book is excellent...the narrator not so much

The book itself is excellent, not the story of course, which is a tragedy, but Dikötter does a good job of telling the story and providing evidence. It truly shatters any idea that communism is a good idea. He shows that from the start the CCP brought oppression to the people of China. The successes of the Chinese people are in spite of the CCP not because of the CCP. I can only say after reading/listening to this book is the sad thing is that people who live in countries with a free press, will carry water for a regime that has murdered its own citizens, instead they slander the critics of the CCP with the worst names. The CCP has abused and continues to abuse its people, and to criticize its oppressive policies against its own people is standing up for those who cannot speak freely for themselves.

This book shows the roots of this oppressive regime. That they began terrorizing their own people and enslaved them. Requiring them to have "correct thinking" rather than freedom to think and speak. Mao is not a hero but a sociopath, he knew what he was doing was wrong, he just didn't care.

The only downside is the narrator of this audiobook. His reading is almost monotone and doesn't have much if any variation of tone. I was able to get through it by speeding up the audio to about 1.5 or 1.7x. 2x's was a bit too fast and caused words to skip. By speeding things up it was not as difficult to listen to.

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enlightening.

had to get use to the readers voice at first. Facts if what happened to China is depressing. But knowledge we must know to prevent from repeating.

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the narration is abysmal

the content was interesting and so was the writing. it's unfortunate that the narrator is so horrendous. he ends almost every sentence like a question. I don't know how it was allowed to be published like that. garbage.

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Great book; narration a little strange

I really enjoyed the book. It was long, and quite a difficult story to hear, but well written and makes a compelling argument. Critics may see it as a one-sided take-down of Mao and the communist party in the first half of the 20th century, but with the evidence marshaled here one has to wonder what, if anything ,could put Mao into a positive light after hearing this.

The narration, however, leaves something to be desired. “Stiff” would be putting it lightly. It seems as though the voice artist was trying to read as though it were a stage production, with a sort of bravado inappropriate for prose. The same cadence and emphasis line after line after line, not to mention the poorly pronounced Chinese (not the worst I’ve heard, but still seems like an important thing to work on if your job is reading a book about China), was hard not to notice.