Only twelve years into his thirty-year reign, Mao Zedong surpassed Joseph Stalin as history’s leading mass murderer, according to evidence released recently by the People’s Republic of China. Jasper Becker’s Hungry Ghosts and Zhengyuan Fu’s Autocratic Tradition and Chinese Politics show that Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”—the nadir of 3000 years of autocracy—was far worse than most experts had thought.

Bryan Caplan is Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
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Other Independent Review articles by Bryan Caplan
Winter 2004/05 The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues
Spring 2001 Libertarianism Against Economism: How Economists Misunderstand Voters, and Why Libertarians Should Care
Winter 1998/99 The Political Economy of Dictatorship