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9780679746324

Mao: The Unknown Story

Chang, Jung; Halliday, Jon

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9780679746324: Mao: The Unknown Story

The most authoritative life of the Chinese leader every written, Mao: The Unknown Story is based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao’s close circle in China who have never talked before — and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology; his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back to the 1920s, ultimately bringing him to power; he welcomed Japanese occupation of much of China; and he schemed, poisoned, and blackmailed to get his way. After Mao conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the deaths of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history. In all, well over 70 million Chinese perished under Mao’s rule — in peacetime.

 

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In the epilogue to her biography of Mao Tse-tung, Jung Chang and her husband and cowriter Jon Halliday lament that, "Today, Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital." For Chang, author of Wild Swans, this fact is an affront, not just to history, but to decency. Mao: The Unknown Story does not contain a formal dedication, but it is clear that Chang is writing to honor the millions of Chinese who fell victim to Mao's drive for absolute power in his 50-plus-year struggle to dominate China and the 20th-century political landscape. From the outset, Chang and Halliday are determined to shatter the "myth" of Mao, and they succeed with the force, not just of moral outrage, but of facts. The result is a book, more indictment than portrait, that paints Mao as a brutal totalitarian, a thug, who unleashed Stalin-like purges of millions with relish and without compunction, all for his personal gain. Through the authors' unrelenting lens even his would-be heroism as the leader of the Long March and father of modern China is exposed as reckless opportunism, subjecting his charges to months of unnecessary hardship in order to maintain the upper hand over his rival, Chang Kuo-tao, an experienced military commander.

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

10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Q: From idea to finished book, how long did Mao: The Unknown Story take to research and write?
A: Over a decade.

Q: What was your writing process like? How did you two collaborate on this project?
A: The research shook itself out by language. Jung did all the Chinese-language research, and Jon did the other languages, of which Russian was the most important, as Mao had a long-term intimate relationship with Stalin. After our research trips around the world, we would work in our separate studies in London. We would then rendezvous at lunch to exchange discoveries.

Q: Do you have any thoughts about how the book is, or will be received in China? Did that play a part in your writing of the book?
A: The book is banned in China, because the current Communist regime is fiercely perpetuating the myth of Mao. Today Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, and the regime declares itself to be Mao's heir. The government blocked the distribution of an issue of The Far Eastern Economic Review, and told the magazine's owners, Dow Jones, that this was because that issue contained a review of our book. The regime also tore the review of our book out of The Economist magazine that was going to (very restricted) newsstands. We are not surprised that the book is banned. The regime's attitude had no influence on how we wrote the book. We hope many copies will find their way into China.

Q: What is the one thing you hope readers get from your book?
A: Mao was responsible for the deaths of well over 70 million Chinese in peacetime, and he was bent on dominating the world. As China is today emerging as an economic and military power, the world can never regard it as a benign force unless Beijing rejects Mao and all his legacies. We hope our book will help push China in this direction by telling the truth about Mao. Breakdown of a BIG Book: 5 Things You'll Learn from Mao: The Unknown Story

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."



About the Author:

Jung Chang was born in Yibin, Sichuan province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966—1976) she worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the University of York, where she obtained a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1982, the first person from the People’s Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British University. Her award-winning book, Wild Swans, was published in 1991, and has sold more than 10 million copies in 30 languages.

Jon Halliday is a former Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London. He has written or edited eight previous books.

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Chang, Jung; Halliday, Jon Author
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Book Description Anchor, 2006. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: List of Maps Abbreviations and a Note About Spelling in the Text PART ONELukewarm Believer 1. On the Cusp from Ancient to Modern(18931911; age 117) 2. Becoming a Communist(191120; age 1726) 3. Lukewarm Believer(192025; age 2631) 4. Rise and Demise in the Nationalist Party (192527; age 3133) PART TWOLong March to Supremacy in the Party 5. Hijacking a Red Force and Taking Over Bandit Land(192728; age 3334) 6. Subjugating the Red Army Supremo(192830; age 3436) 7. Takeover Leads to Death of Second Wife(192730; age 3336) 8. Bloody Purge Paves the Way for "Chairman Mao"(192931; age 3537) 9. Mao and the First Red State(193134; age 3740) 10. Troublemaker to Figurehead(193134; age 3740) 11. How Mao Got onto the Long March(193334; age 3940) 12. Long March I: Chiang Lets the Reds Go(1934; age 40) 13. Long March II: The Power Behind the Throne(193435; age 4041) 14. Long March III: Monopolising the Moscow Connection(1935; age 41) PART THREEBuilding His Power Base 15. The Timely Death of Mao's Host(193536; age 4142) 16. Chiang Kai-shek Kidnapped(193536; age 4142) 17. A National Player(1936; age 4243) 18. New Image, New Life and New Wife(193738; age 4344) 19. Red Mole Triggers ChinaJapan War(193738; age 4344) 20. Fight Rivals and ChiangNot Japan(193740; age 4346) 21. Most Desired Scenario: Stalin Carves Up China with Japan(193940; age 4546) 22. Death Trap for His Own Men(194041; age 4647) 23. Building a Power Base Through Terror(194145; age 4751) 24. Uncowed Opponent Poisoned(194145; age 4751) 25. Supreme Party Leader at Last(194245; age 4851) PART FOURTo Conquer China 26. "Revolutionary Opium War"(193745; age 4351) 27. The Russians Are Coming!(194546; age 5152) 28. Saved by Washington(194447; age 5053) 29. Moles, Betrayals and Poor Leadership Doom Chiang(194549; age 5155) 30. China Conquered(194649; age 5255) 31. Totalitarian State, Extravagant Lifestyle(194953; age 5559) PART FIVEChasing a Superpower Dream 32. Rivalry with Stalin(194749; age 5355) 33. Two Tyrants Wrestle(194950; age 5556) 34. Why Mao and Stalin Started the Korean War(194950; age 5556) 35. Mao Milks the Korean War(195053; age 5659) 36. Launching the Secret Superpower Programme(195354; age 5960) 37. War on Peasants(195356; age 5962) 38. Undermining Khrushchev(195659; age 6265) 39. Killing the "Hundred Flowers"(195758; age 6364) 40. The Great Leap: "Half of China May Well Have to Die"(195861; age 6467) 41. Defence Minister Peng's Lonely Battle(1958. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0679746323

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