Recent Posts

Another CIA/NSC Archive Film: “China: The Roots of Madness” (1967)

Another classic attempt to “explain and understand” China from the CIA/NSC archives, this one is like some sort of unholy mash-up of John King Fairbank, Max Weber, Henry Luce, Edward Said, and the KMT propaganda department…but there is some useful archival footage as well as interviews with seminal American “China watchers” such as Theodore White and Pearl Buck.  Huge h/t to my fellow historian G.T.

4 Comments on Another CIA/NSC Archive Film: “China: The Roots of Madness” (1967)

  1. I thought it was pretty good. At least more comprehensive and in-depth than the average “explain” China documentary nowadays (except PBS “china from the inside”)

  2. Seb,

    Yikes! A lot of the explanations relied on way out-of-date assumptions and paradigms about Chinese history…not to mention the rather over-the-top political overtones. I will say the film represented probably the best wisdom on China of its day (and there may be some out there who would argue with me about that), but in 2010 it’s quite the period piece to say the least.

    If you’re interested in a decent recap of this period in history, one place to look is the PBS produced series “China: A Century in Revolution.” Not without its flaws to be sure, but light years ahead of this artifact.

  3. Amazing to think the “barbed-wire border” is now the Luohu crossing, Shenzhen days . . . .

  4. If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book. Written by Teddy White. Actually it’s quite tame in its condemnation of Red China, considering what we now know was going on at the time.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Niklas Dougherty

Comments are closed.