Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mao: The Unknown Story

by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

This must be my day for depressing books. This morning I finished Nory Ryan's Song and tonight I finished Mao. This book is one that shook my faith. Not my faith in God, but rather the belief I have that truth will win out in a person's lifetime. It's a belief that charlatans will eventually be exposed, the incompetent eventually replaced and the tyrants eventually overthrown. According to this biography, Mao Zedong is all three. He's presented as a power hungry slob who sacrificed millions--comrades and strangers alike--in his quest for power and glory. And many of those dreams failed, in part due to the poor management and understanding of Mao and his cronies. I was not very far into the book when I started hoping that someone would take a gun and just shoot the jerk. Of course, Chairman Mao died in his bed and is still hailed as a great man. (He even has his picture on all the money!) It just ain't right. Anyway, though I would say that this book is worth checking out, I should also say that this book has a definite bias. Ms. Jung and Mr. Halliday really have nothing good to say about Mao and at times it seems like they're reaching as they recount Mao's transgressions. (For example, they speculate that "Mao may have helped cause Stalin's [fatal] stroke." Pure speculation, methinks.) Still, if even half of what they claim is true, Mao should be replacing Hitler as the evil icon of the 20th Century.
LibraryThing link


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