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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.
I liked her other book, "Four Swans", so much and was disappointed that this one seemed more like a textbook.Published 9 days ago by Chicago Girl
Anybody with only a passing knowledge of modern China's history should read this harrowing account. The fact that Mao and his henchmen required sleeping pills to rest isn't in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matt Mclellan
Mao is a good example of individual agency in determining history. It took Mao to a great civilization to its greatest depths for it rise to its current preeminence. Read morePublished 1 month ago by pbusharizi
The writing is great but the author's bias towards Mao seems to make it less reliable and interesting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kamchai Rungsimunpaiboon
Not really written by Jung Chang. Too heavy a reading for bedtime.Published 2 months ago by Lye Soh Teng
Very entertaining book that is full of details. I sometimes found it hard to keep up with the names of people and places because the subject matter is so vast and the time period... Read morePublished 2 months ago by shafter_bare
I both love this book and hate it. It's a very hard book to read as she is so detailed about the events that lead to the death and torture of 70 million people. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gayle Lai
The overall book condition is good. Except one page having a slight tear. Not sure how it tore but just hope the packaging part can be more careful during the processPublished 3 months ago by Loo Hui Qin Gladys