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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.
Jung Chang, is a product of Mao's education. Even after received her graduate education in the west, the style of her writing very much reflected that of the 1960's in China,... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Penny
No one will know the foundations of today's China without reading this very revealing book! Mao was personally responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million of his people... Read morePublished 15 days ago by William J. Finlan
I am only just beginning this book but feel compelled to write my thoughts thus far. Having read more than a few nonfiction books on WW2 as well as on pre-revolutionary Russia plus... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Gwynn B. Owens
This book just left me speechless....anyone who is interested in China, just read it.Published 27 days ago by Tim Steel
If everything written in this book is absolutely factual it is no wonder that it is banned in the Republic of China. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tom Brewer
A real biography of the monster whose life
was and is a great tragedy for the Chinese people.