Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings: Volume X

Editors: Nancy Hearst and Joseph Fewsmith

ISBN 9781138856622

February, 2023 by Routledge

904 Pages


The series, Mao’s Road to Power, consisting of translations of Mao Zedong’s writings from 1912 to 1949, provides abundant documentation in his own words on his life and thought as well as developments in China during the pre-1949 period. This final volume in the series, Volume 10, covers the period from the Chinese Communist Party’s Strategic Offense during the Civil War to the Establishment of the People’s Republic of China, July 1947 to October 1949.

Mao’s Long Tale: The History Behind Road to Power

The 10 volumes of Mao’s Road to Power consist of translations of Mao Zedong’s writings from 1912 to 1949 and provide extensive, first-person documentation of the leader’s life and thoughts, along with a unique perspective on the development of pre-1949 China.

Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings: Volume IX and Volume X, the final two volumes in this series, were published by Routledge in February of 2023. They were co-edited by Joseph Fewsmith, Fairbank Center Associate and Professor of International Relations at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, and Nancy Hearst, librarian for the Fairbank Center collection at the H.C. Fung Library.

Volume IX covers the period from the Japanese Surrender through the Chinese Communist Party’s Strategic Defense during the Civil War—August 1945 to June 1947—while Volume X includes the Chinese Communist Party’s Strategic Offense during the Civil War up until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China—July 1947 to October 1949.

The project began in 1989, when Professor Roderick MacFarquhar, then-director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect and translate all of Mao’s pre-1949 writings. MacFarquhar invited Stuart Schram, recently retired from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (SOAS), to relocate to Cambridge and lead what would become a 30-plus year endeavor.

Volume I, which covers 1912 to 1920, was published in 1992 with help from colleagues in China and an army of translators. Subsequent volumes (through Volume VII) were published with assistance from Nancy Hodes, Lyman VanSlyke, and Steven Averill. In 2003, the Fairbank Center hosted world-renowned Mao scholars, including several from China, for a conference titled “Mao Re-evaluated,” to celebrate the Mao’s Road to Power project, even though only seven of a projected 10 volumes had already been published. Timothy Cheek, historian at the University of British Columbia, was then commissioned to co-edit, with Schram, Volume VIII: From Rectification to Coalition Government. Due to Schram’s failing health, Cheek took over the final revisions, translations, and editing of the 1942 to July 1945 documents. Schram died in 2012, and Cheek shepherded Volume VIII through publication in 2015.

After Schram’s death, MacFarquhar assumed responsibility for the final two volumes of Mao’s Road to Power. He recruited Stacy Mosher and a number of former students to begin working on the translations. But again, due to failing health, he was unable to see these volumes through to publication; the day before his death, in 2019, he asked Nancy Hearst, the Fairbank Center’s librarian—who had been assisting with the project in various ways—to take the reins for these final two volumes. He also suggested that Joe Fewsmith work as academic advisor.

The next major challenge was to try to put together what had already been translated and what was still left to be done. The materials were somewhat in disarray, because various translation drafts and Chinese documents—together with numerous flash drives and old floppy disks—had been moved around over the course of a decade, from Schram’s office, to Cheek’s office, to MacFarquhar’s, and finally, to the Fairbank Center library. The first task was to determine what was left to be translated and then to locate many of the original sources that by then had been misplaced. Hearst and Fewsmith’s goal was to attempt to recreate Schram and MacFarquhar’s original vision for the project. Arthur Waldron, professor of International Relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, had already been commissioned by Schram to write the Introduction to these final two volumes. With the help of Harvard’s Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government, and Michael A. Szonyi, Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History (and Fairbank Center director at the time), the Yenching Institute and the Department of History provided supplementary funding to recruit additional translators and help fill in the gaps in translation. 

“Over the course of four years,” Hearst says, “Joe and I dedicated extensive time and effort to editing, correcting, adding footnotes, and proofreading the 1000-plus pages of the final volumes of Mao’s Road to Power.” Finally, in February 2023, with these two volumes’ publication, the Fairbank Center’s decades-long project reached completion.