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Mao: The Real Storyby Alexander V Pantsov
Synopses & Reviews
This major new biography of Mao uses extensive Russian documents previously unavailable to biographers to reveal surprising details about Mao’s rise to power and leadership in China.
Mao Zedong was one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, the most important in the history of modern China. This revelatory new biography draws on thousands of Russian documents about Mao and other Chinese leaders that were available during the period of glasnost and now are less accessible.
Pantsov and Levine trace Mao’s rise to leadership from the small village where he was born and show his relentless drive to succeed, vividly describing his growing role in the nascent Communist party of China. They disclose startling facts about his personal life, particularly regarding his health and his lifelong, serial affairs with young women.
Mao was a complex figure, champion of the poor and brutal tyrant, poet and despot. He brought his country from poverty and economic backwardness into the modern age, led a national revolution and made the rest of the world respect China. But he was also responsible for a loss of life exceeding even that of Hitler and Stalin. A disciple of Stalin, he turned against the USSR after Khrushchev came to power, determined that China would depend on no other country. Mao remade his weak country into a powerful one and shrewdly renewed relations with the U.S. as a counter to the USSR. He lived and behaved as China’s last emperor. Now readers will have the full story of his life and rule as never before.
"While early biographies of Mao Zedong (1893 — 1976) beginning with Edgar Snow's 1936 Thunder out of China were worshipful, new biographies have revealed the extent of his ruthlessness. With access to recently opened Soviet and Chinese archives, Russian-Ã©migrÃ© historian Pantsov(The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919 — 1927), together with China expert Levine (Anvil of Victory: The Communist Revolution in Manchuria), continues this trend, often contradicting previous accounts. They relate in detail how Mao, who joined the Communist Party in 1920, fought his way, often murderously, to its leadership in the 1930s. After Japan's 1937 invasion, he consolidated his strength while the forces of Chiang Kai-shek, head of the autocratic Nationalist government, took the brunt of the fighting before losing the post-1945 civil war. Taking power in 1949, Mao established a Stalinist autocracy featuring purges, massive social upheaval, and disastrous economic policies. Official Chinese histories extol his fierce independence — even of Joseph Stalin — but Pantsov reveals that Mao took pains to remain a faithful follower until Stalin's 1952 death. Although dense with the minutiae of Chinese politics, persistent readers will encounter plenty of fireworks in this definitive biography. 16 pages of b&w photos, maps. Agent: Peter Bernstein, Peter Bernstein Agency" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
andlt;Bandgt;This major new biography of Mao uses extensive Russian documents previously unavailable to biographers to reveal surprising details about Maoand#8217;s rise to power and his leadership in China.andlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Mao Zedong was one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, the most important in the history of modern China. A complex figure, he was champion of the poor and brutal tyrant, poet and despot. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Pantsov and Levine show Maoand#8217;s relentless drive to succeed, vividly describing his growing role in the nascent Communist Party of China. They disclose startling facts about his personal life, particularly regarding his health and his lifelong serial affairs with young women. They portray him as the loyal Stalinist that he was, who never broke with the Soviet Union until after Stalinand#8217;s death. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Mao brought his country from poverty and economic backwardness into the modern age and onto the world stage. But he was also responsible for an unprecedented loss of life. The disastrous Great Leap Forward with its accompanying famine and the bloody Cultural Revolution were Maoand#8217;s creations. Internationally Mao began to distance China from the USSR under Khrushchev and shrewdly renewed relations with the U.S. as a counter to the Soviets. He lived and behaved as Chinaand#8217;s last emperor.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Alexander V. Pantsov andlt;/bandgt;is a professor of history and holds the Edward and Mary Catherine Gerhold Chair in the Humanities at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Born in Moscow, Pantsov graduated from Moscow State University Institute of Asian and African Studies in 1978. He has published more than ten books, among them andlt;iandgt;The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution 1919-1927 andlt;/iandgt;and andlt;iandgt;Mao Zedongandlt;/iandgt;.andlt;bandgt;Steven I. Levineandlt;/bandgt; is research faculty associate in the department of history at the University of Montana. Levine has published extensively in the fields of modern Chinese politics and foreign policy as well as American-East Asian relations.
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