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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.
If everything written in this book is absolutely factual it is no wonder that it is banned in the Republic of China. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Tom Brewer
A real biography of the monster whose life
was and is a great tragedy for the Chinese people.
A good read. The writers expose some of the long-held myths surrounding a remarkable, but cruel leader. The book is fast paced and won't bore.Published 18 days ago by RJR
Really, really dodgy research. Not at all objective and much of it is vastly misleading- these parts being based on the shakiest research. Not to be treated as a serious history!Published 24 days ago by kriemhild85
I'm going to have to agree with most of the other reviews and say that while this book is overall excellent, there is a pretty major downfall and that's its bias. Read morePublished 1 month ago by david
If you think you know the life story of the Chinese dictator, guess again. This book is so stuffed full of never-before-seen material that it boggles the mind. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kujifanya Jina
A revealing and astonishing account one of the most unaccountable men in modern history. Mao's lies, misinformation, deceit and incredible cunning had me enthralled. Read morePublished 1 month ago by keith charlton
very entertaining, and also educative on how rulers hoodwink the population in most places in the worldPublished 1 month ago by Harrison Ochieng'