Bianco, Lucien, Translated by Krystyna Horko, Stalin and Mao: a Comparison of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions
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Comparing the Bolshevik and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) revolutions is challenging. These two movements are arguably incomparable, in that their processes were so asymmetrical that it is difficult to identify a valid “variation” to explain. The intense interactions between the two add another challenge in that they disprove the experimentalist presumption that comparable cases must be independent of each other. Narrowing the comparison to the leaders seems like a good strategy to make comparison possible, but it introduces a new risk: as numerous biographies have illustrated, adding individual factors complicates analysis.
Despite these challenges, Bianco covers multiple significant similarities and dissimilarities of the two revolutions across issues and over long periods, rather than focus on a single variation or common outcome. To do this sweeping analysis, he tries to adhere to a consistent procedure of paralleling and comparison, highlighting inter-case interaction wherever...