Date

2017

Department or Program

History

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

C. P. Giersch

Abstract

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung is one of the most prolifically printed books in modern history, allegedly rivaling the print numbers of the Bible. A complication of over 300 quotes from the late Chinese Communist Party leader that was first published in 1964, this book was soon translated and distributed worldwide with the intention of swaying foreign hearts and minds in favor of Maoism. One such target was the United States. Americans from a variety of different social and political backgrounds were exposed to and drew influence from the "Little Red Book," including academics who struggled to comprehend China's new role in the world, artists who used the Quotations' text in drama, and satirists who used the Quotations' unique style to lampoon or praise powerful figures. The Little Red Book thus became an imported media tool through which Americans shaped their understanding of China, Mao, and ultimately themselves during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern history, one that continues to influence the American political landscape today.

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