From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8--This book gives students a brief introduction to Chinese history and describes how the rich and advanced society declined in the 19th century due to government corruption and weak leaders, creating the environment for revolution. Mao's experiences and education, his development as a Marxist, his rise as a political figure during the establishment of the Communist Party in 1921, and as a military leader during the Long March of the Red Army in 1934-1935 are analyzed. The readable text recounts Mao's consolidation of power in 1949, the establishment of the People's Republic of China, and his own revolution to improve education, health, and women's rights while outlawing religion and opposition through thought reform. The book describes the failed policies of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, which isolated China from the rest of the world for two decades. The relatively recent change in economic policy and its possible influence on political freedom are discussed. A map of the provinces of China and extensive back matter enhance the presentation. Black-and-white reproductions and quotes from source documents further amplify the information. Jean Fritz's China's Long March
(Putnam, 1988; o.p.) delves deeper into the history of this two-year military campaign and its political ramifications. Louise Chipley Slavicek's Mao Zedong
(Chelsea, 2003) covers similar information on the man's life and influence on the development of modern China. Malaspina's well-researched account will be useful for reports.--Ann Joslin, Erie County Public Library, PA
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