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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."
Wow, what a great book. I could not put it down. The proof of his economic policy is that China explodes in richness only after he dies.Published 13 days ago by David Wallace
I applaud Chang's audacity in bringing to light so many details that previously have been hidden from the eyes of previous biographers. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Benjamin Seeberger
This is the best biography of Mao I have read. A must read.Published 22 days ago by Samuel Kerr Thompson
Some reviewers have complained about the personal bias and bitter nature of some of the author's commentary. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Robert Salmon
This gives the reader a heads up on modern history. Well worth the read.Published 2 months 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 2 months ago by xu
The authors strong bias comes out at times making it difficult to swallow some of her assertions. But overall informative.Published 2 months ago by A. Lopez-barton