• E-Books
  • Latest Catalogs
  • Books for Courses
  • Exhibits Listing
  • View Cart

About the Book

Beyond the Book

524 pp., 6.125 x 9.25

ISBN  978-0-8078-4253-9
Published: July 1989

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism

A Study of 'brainwashing' in China

By Robert Jay Lifton

With a new preface by the author

Informed by Erik Erikson's concept of the formation of ego identity, this book, which first appreared in 1961, is an analysis of the experiences of fifteen Chinese citizens and twenty-five Westerners who underwent "brainwashing" by the Communist Chinese government. Robert Lifton constructs these case histories through personal interviews and outlines a thematic pattern of death and rebirth, accompanied by feelings of guilt, that characterizes the process of "thought reform." In a new preface, Lifton addresses the implications of his model for the study of American religious cults.

About the Author

Robert Jay Lifton is lecturer on psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima and The Nazi Doctors.


"While exploring the dynamics of Chinese Communist 'thought reform,' Lifton has performed the extraordinary feat of successfully linking . . . distinctly Chinese experiences with universal knowledge about human behavior."
--Journal of Asian Studies

"Lifton has written a book with the rare virtue of being at once a rich source of information vital to international relations, and an interesting exploration of several aspects of ideology and identity."
--Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Related Titles

<span style="" >When Sun Meets Moon</span>

When Sun Meets Moon

Gender, Eros, and Ecstasy in Urdu Poetry

By Scott Kugle

The place of the arts in Islamic devotional practice Learn More »

<span style="" >Selling Empire</span>

Selling Empire

India in the Making of Britain and America, 1600-1830

By Jonathan Eacott

Consumer goods connected India, Britain, and America Learn More »

<span style="" >Hanoi's War</span>

Hanoi's War

An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

By Lien-Hang T. Nguyen

Challenging the conventional narrative of the Vietnam War

Learn More »

© 2015 The University of North Carolina Press
116 South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3808
How to Order | Make a Gift | Privacy