Friday July 25th, 2014, 1:37 pm (EDT)

Through a Glass Darkly

U.S. Views of the Chinese Revolution

Through a Glass Darkly
Paperback, 288 pages

ISBN: 1-58367-141-2

Released: July 2006

Price: $20

Through a Glass Darkly is William Hinton’s final book. It draws on a lifetime of immersion in contemporary Chinese politics and society, beginning with the seven years he spent in China, working mainly in agriculture and land reform, until 1953. On his return to the United States in that year, Hinton first encountered the distortions and misrepresentations of the Chinese Revolution that he examines in this book.

Moving from large questions to concrete details, often drawn from his own experiences, Hinton brings everyday life in revolutionary China graphically to life. In a time when the distorted views first developed by U.S. critics of the Chinese Revolution are often propagated by the new Chinese elite themselves, Through a Glass Darkly has more than just historical relevance. For anyone wishing to understand present-day rivalries between the United States and China, Hinton shows how these began. This is a fitting completion of the work of a great scholar and revolutionary.

Praise for William Hinton’s groundbreaking, Fanshen (more than 400,000 copies sold):

A vivid and compelling ‘grass-roots’ account of life.

—Benjamin Schwartz, New York Times Book Review

An epic; one of the most important books about China which has been written since the Revolution. . . . For anyone who wants to understand anything about the Chinese revolution of our time, the reading of this book is an absolute necessity.

Tribune (London)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Why Write This Book?

Introduction: From Boardroom to Classroom

  • 1. An Academic “People’s Life Museum”

PART ONE: On Land Reform

  • 2. Land Reform
  • Miscellaneous Spin Interlude I
  • 3. Twists and Turns of Land Reform
  • Spin Interlude II: Land Reform and Related Matters

PART TWO: On Household Economy

  • 4. The State versus Household Economy I: Prospects and Problems When Peasants Cooperate
  • Spin Interlude III: The State versus Household Economy
  • 5. The State versus Household Economy II: The State Pushes All-Around Development
  • Spin Interlude IV: The State versus Household Economy (II)
  • 6. The State versus Household Economy III: Whom Should the State Support?
  • Miscellaneous Spin Interlude V

PART THREE: On Culture

  • 7. The State and Popular Culture
  • Spin Interlude VI: The State and Popular Culture

PART FOUR: Morality, Famine, Class Struggle

  • 8. The State and Morality
  • 9. The State and the “Great Famine”
  • 10. Inside the Party Class Struggle

William Hinton (1919-2004) was the author of Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village (1967), Shenfan: The Continuing Revolution in a Chinese Village (1980), as well asIron Oxen: A Revolution in Chinese Farming (1970), Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University (1972),Turning Point in China: An Essay on The Cultural Revolution(1972), and The Great Reversal: The Privatization of China, 1978-1989 (1990). He was a farmer in Vermont and a legendary figure in the U.S. left.