Bringing together substantial essays by leading scholars, this volume offers a comprehensive introduction to and analysis of the politics of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1989. The first four chapters are drawn from The Cambridge History of China, Volumes 14 and 15. The last chapter, covering the events of the 1980's, have been written specifically for this volume. The particular strength of the volume is the depth of expert knowledge provided for each extraordinary political era; each period is covered by a specialist on the events of that time. The volume should be equally useful to general readers with an interest in China and to students; it should also serve as a valuable reference for specialists.