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Using exhaustive research in archives all over the world, Chang and Halliday recast Mao's ascent to power and subsequent grip on China in the context of global events. Sino-Soviet relations, the strengths and weakness of Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese invasion of China, World War II, the Korean War, the disastrous Great Leap Forward, the vicious Cultural Revolution, the Vietnam War, Nixon's visit, and the constant, unending purges all, understandably, provide the backdrop for Mao's unscrupulous but invincible political maneuverings and betrayals. No one escaped unharmed. Rivals, families, peasants, city dwellers, soldiers, and lifelong allies such as Chou En-lai were all sacrificed to Mao's ambition and paranoia. Appropriately, the authors' consciences are appalled. Their biggest fear is that Mao will escape the global condemnation and infamy he deserves. Their astonishing book will go a long way to ensure that the pendulum of history will adjust itself accordingly. --Silvana Tropea
1. Mao became a Communist at the age of 27 for purely pragmatic reasons: a job and income from the Russians.
2. Far from organizing the Long March in 1934, Mao was nearly left behind by his colleagues who could not stand him and had tried to oust him several times. The aim of the March was to link up with Russia to get arms. The Reds survived the March because Chiang Kai-shek let them, in a secret horse-trade for his son and heir, whom Stalin was holding hostage in Russia.
3. Mao grew opium on a large scale.
4. After he conquered China, Mao's over-riding goal was to become a superpower and dominate the world: "Control the Earth," as he put it.
5. Mao caused the greatest famine in history by exporting food to Russia to buy nuclear and arms industries: 38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61. Mao knew exactly what was happening, saying: "half of China may well have to die."
This is an easy book to read and once it gets going, really grabs ones attention.
As a published author with a doctorate in modern Chinese history, I strongly recommend Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.
The fact that the authors demonstrate a prejudice in presenting their evidence makes it, moreover, a badly argued book.
This gives the reader a heads up on modern history. Well worth the read.Published 3 days ago by Judy
Excellent book, I've read many books of mordern Chinese History, this book is one of the good ones which has English versions, there are some unmannered Chinese who abuse the book... Read morePublished 9 days ago by xu
The authors strong bias comes out at times making it difficult to swallow some of her assertions. But overall informative.Published 16 days ago by A. Lopez-barton
Excellent corrective to Edgar Snow. Provides more convincing explanation for economic and social crises under Mao than previous accounts have done. It adds up well. Read morePublished 19 days ago by GB
Excellent book. New info that has not been heard about. Large book and not fast reading. For any history buffs who really went to know what happened during that time this is the... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Judy L. McClelland
Have only read about a 100 pages of this 800+ page tome. Photos and maps are great: revealing and educational. Mao's history is a shock. Read morePublished 1 month ago by TD
Chairman Mao is one of the 3 great dictators of the 20th century. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all sociopathic monsters. Each had his own peculiar pathology and genius. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jag Sulla