Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes: The Tangshan Earthquake and the Death of Mao's China

Author(s): James Palmer


When an earthquake of historic magnitude leveled the industrial city of Tangshan in the summer of 1976, killing more than a half-million people, China was already gripped by widespread social unrest. As Mao lay on his deathbed, the public mourned the death of popular premier Zhou Enlai. Anger toward the powerful Communist Party officials in the Gang of Four, which had tried to suppress grieving for Zhou, was already potent; when the government failed to respond swiftly to the Tangshan disaster, popular resistance to the Cultural Revolution reached a boiling point.

In "Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes," acclaimed historian James Palmer tells the startling story of the most tumultuous year in modern Chinese history, when Mao perished, a city crumbled, and a new China was born.


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Colin Thubron"China's year of death and resurrection was never described with more lucid understanding or to more forceful effect. A mesmerizing book." Alan Paul, author of "Big in China""James Palmer understands China, and in this fascinating, gripping book, he shows how the natural disaster of an earthquake helped end the unnatural disaster of the Cultural Revolution." Frank Dikotter, author of "Mao's Great Famine""This is a terrific book, gripping yet humane, and essential reading for anybody wishing to understand how Mao's reign came to an end." Isabel Hilton, editor, chinadialogue"James Palmer has written an incisive and gripping account of one of the most dramatic moments in recent Chinese history: political intrigue and natural disaster in the closing days of Maoism." "Kirkus Reviews
""A compressed, fast-moving survey of the waning rule of Mao Zedong, precipitated by the horrendous Tangshan earthquake of 1976. Beijing-based author Palmer efficiently lays out the devastati

General Fields

  • : 9780465014781
  • : The Perseus Books Group
  • : Basic Books
  • : 0.499
  • : May 2011
  • : 235mm X 155mm X 28mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : James Palmer
  • : Hardback
  • : 951.057
  • : 320
  • : illustrations