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Reviews 229 Tony Saich, editor. The Rise to Power ofthe Chinese CommunistParty: Documents and Analysis. With a contribution by Benjamin Yang. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1996. lxix, 1,431 pp. Hardcover $195.00, isbn 156324 -154-4. Paperback $45.00, isbn 1-56324-155-2. This imposing work, the culmination ofa ten-year project, is a major contribution toward our understanding ofthe Chinese Revolution. Saich couches his presentation of 212 major Communist Party documents in compeUing analyses (totaling 120 pages), which, together with his thirty-page general introduction, provide a "cutting edge" interpretation and, I fhink, the best short history ofthe rise ofthe Chinese Communist Party. The Party that emerges here is one that was continuously beset by factional struggles and by tensions between the Party Center and non-centers and between loyalty to organization and leader; one that had great difficulty in mobüizing support among the masses and was successful only where cadres based their approaches and policies on local realities and contexts; and one, belying the standard mythic Maoist history offhe Party, that was polycentric in leadership and program into the 1940s. Saich divides fhe documents and analysis into eight periods, some ofwhich overlap on the basis ofintra-Party development and extra-Party relationships; for example, Commentary F deals with united front difficulties from 1939 to 1941 while Commentary G focuses on "establishing the orfhodoxy" from October 1939 to April 1945. The periodization itselfdraws attention to the significance ofboth internal Party developments and relations with the outside world in the contours ofthe Party's rise. The documents are the heart of this work. They come from a wide variety of sources: archives (among them, the central Party archives in Beijing and the van Ravesteyn archives in Amsterdam); from previously published English-language translations (e.g., documents in works like C. Martin Wübur and Julie How, Missionaries ofRevolution [Harvard University Press, 1989] and Boyd Compton, Mao's China: Party Reform Documents, 1942-1944 [University ofWashington Press, 1952]); from newspapers and periodicals ofthe period; and from various studies and coUections published in the 1980s—such as biographies of Zhang Guotao and Zhang Wentian and accounts ofnon-central base areas and movements. The range ofdocument types gives this work its richness; my examples serve as only a hint ofthe scholarly wealth in this volume. The documents deal with the panoply ofParty concerns—political, müitary, social, cultural, and economic; the© 1997 by University bane offactionalism that dogged the Partyateverystep; and die host ofnon-Chinese Communist Party institutions and/or their representatives with which the Party had to deal: warlords, the Guomindang, the Comintern, the Japanese, and the Americans. Among the most formal legal documents are fhe various constituofHawai 'i Press 230 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. ?, Spring 1997 tions and laws issued by fhe Party. These include the 1922 Constitution (and its three révisions of 1923, 1925, and 1927), the 1928 Constitution, the 1931 Constitution and Land Law ofthe Chinese Soviet Republic, the 1934 Organic Law ofthe Chinese Soviet Republic, and the 1945 Constitution. Saich uses these documents to point to changes over time in Party directions and to emphasize the importance oforganization to the movement. But they are only skeletons to which the editor through his choice of the other documents endows historical flesh and blood; these documents bring to life fhe Party's rise and such dramatic struggles as the late 1920s attack on the role and person ofChen Duxiu, the battle between Zhang Guotao and the Party Center, and the competition in the 1930s and 1940s between Mao on the one hand and Wang Ming and Bo Gu on the ofher. Less formaUy imposing than Party constitutions and edicts are Party resolutions (such as that on fhe Guangdong peasant movement in 1926); several ofMao Zedong's classic writings (his 1927 report on fhe Hunan peasant movement, the 1942 speech at the Yan'an Forum on Literature and Art, and his essays on coalition government [1945] and die people's democratic dictatorship [1949]); and speeches at Party conferences. The last reveal the struggles ofparticular historical contexts, giving striking evidence that Party debates, far from being dominated by ideology or dogma, were generaUy deeply...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 229-232
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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