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Mao: A Life

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When the Nationalists routed a ragtag Red Army on the Xiang River during the Long March, an earthy Chinese peasant with a brilliant mind moved to a position of power. Eight years after his military success, Mao Tse-tung had won out over more sophisticated rivals to become party chairman, his title for life. Isolated by his eminence, he lived like a feudal emperor for much of his reign after blood purge and agricultural failures took more lives than those killed by either Stalin or Hitler. His virtual quarantine resulted in an ideological/political divide and a devastating reign of terror that became known as the Cultural Revolution. One cannot understand today's China without first understanding Mao, and Philip Short's masterly assessment — informed by a wealth of new sources — allows the reader to understand this colossal figure whose shadow will dominate the twenty-first century.

Philip Short has been a foreign correspondent for The Times (London), The Economist, and the BBC in Uganda, Moscow, China, and Washington, D.C. He lived in China for seven years and now resides in Paris.

Mao Zedong was a defining figure of the twentieth centurya man of awesome vision and power, whose life was played out on so vast a canvas that his greatest contemporaries seem minor by comparison. In this meticulously researched account, Philip Short draws on extensive interviews and on a wealth of previously secret documentary material to present for the first time a complete portrait of this bewilderingly complex and versatile leader.

Short traces Mao's development from idealistic student to visionary despot, whose epic struggle to build a revolutionary realm of Red Virtue took the lives of more of his subjects than did any other leader in human history, Hilter and Stalin included. Crucial episodes in Mao's life and career (which until now have been deliberately obscured) are illuminated, including a secret blood-purge that Mao personally launched in the 1930s, his byzantine struggles with Russia and decisive role in the outbreak of the Korean War, and the Chairman's machinations and imperial behavior that resulted in the cataclysmic Cultural Revolution.

Military strategist, fiendishly clever politician, poet, and philosopher, Mao transformed China and changed the world. Short's masterly biography shows how the revolution that Mao engineered dragged almost a quarter of humankind out of medieval squalor and splendor into the modern age.

"Draws on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources to fashion an uncanny portrait of Mao Zedong . . . Short's dramatic biography will reward readers with its fresh perspective on China's civil war, Mao's treacherous relations with Stalin, party infighting and the power struggle following Mao's death. It not only sheds valuable light on Mao's character but also serves as an illuminating and sweeping history of modern China."Publishers Weekly

"Short [presents this story] brilliantly . . . He has combined what is best in journalism and scholarship; his book is full of colorful insights and detail."The New York Times Book Review

"A masterful biography . . . The most measured, thoughtful, and complete biography of Mao now available in English."Kirkus Reviews

"Mao: A Life deserves to be the standard history. It is everything one could hope for: magisterial, beautifully written, excellently printed, and rich in material from Mr. Short's own researches among those who knew and observed Mao."The London Sunday Telegraph

"Draws on a wealth of hitherto untapped sources to fashion an uncanny portrait of Mao Zedong . . . Short's dramatic biography will reward readers with its fresh perspective on China's civil war, Mao's treacherous relations with Stalin, party infighting, and the power struggle following Mao's death. It not only sheds valuable light on Mao's character but also serves as an illuminating and sweeping history of modern China."Publishers Weekly

"Beautifully written, grippingly readable . . . A formidable piece of research, which wears its learning so lightly you can hardly feel it."Terry Eagleton, The Independent

"Wonderfully readable and rich . . . [Short] tells the story superbly."The Guardian

Synopsis:

Mao Zedong was a defining figure of the twentieth century — a man of awesome vision and power, whose life was played out on so vast a canvas that his greatest contemporaries seem minor by comparison. In this meticulously researched account, Philip Short draws on extensive interviews and on a wealth of previously secret documentary material to present for the first time a complete portrait of this bewilderingly complex and versatile leader. He traces Mao's development from idealistic student to visionary despot, whose epic struggle to build a revolutionary realm of Red Virtue took the lives of more of his subjects than did any other leader in human history — Hitler and Stalin included. Crucial episodes in Mao's life and career (which until now have been deliberately obscured) are illuminated, including a secret blood-purge that Mao personally launched in the 1930s, his byzantine struggles with Russia and decisive role in the outbreak of the Korean War, and the Chairman's machinations and imperial behavior that resulted in the cataclysmic Cultural Revolution.

Military strategist, fiendishly clever politician, poet and philosopher, Mao transformed China and changed the world. Philip Short's masterly biography shows how the revolution Mao engineered dragged almost a quarter of humankind out of medieval squalor and splendor into the modern age.

Synopsis:

When the Nationalists routed a ragtag Red Army on the Xiang River during the Long March, an earthy Chinese peasant with a brilliant mind moved to a position of power. Eight years after his military success, Mao Tse-tung had won out over more sophisticated rivals to become party chairman, his title for life. Isolated by his eminence, he lived like a feudal emperor for much of his reign after blood purge and agricultural failures took more lives than those killed by either Stalin or Hitler. His virtual quarantine resulted in an ideological/political divide and a devastating reign of terror that became known as the Cultural Revolution. One cannot understand today's China without first understanding Mao, and Philip Short's masterly assessment — informed by a wealth of new sources — allows the reader to understand this colossal figure whose shadow will dominate the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Philip Short has been a foreign correspondent for The Times (London), The Economist, and BBC in Uganda, Moscow, China, and Washington, D.C. He lived in China for seven years; he now resides in Paris.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805066388
Subtitle:
A Life
Author:
Short, Philip
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Political
Subject:
China
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Asia - China
Subject:
Heads of state
Edition Number:
First Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
105-1069
Publication Date:
20010201
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Three 8 page bandw inserts, 4 maps
Pages:
824
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 x 1.31 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » China » Mao Tse Tung
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » China

Mao: A Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 824 pages Owl Books - English 9780805066388 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Mao Zedong was a defining figure of the twentieth century — a man of awesome vision and power, whose life was played out on so vast a canvas that his greatest contemporaries seem minor by comparison. In this meticulously researched account, Philip Short draws on extensive interviews and on a wealth of previously secret documentary material to present for the first time a complete portrait of this bewilderingly complex and versatile leader. He traces Mao's development from idealistic student to visionary despot, whose epic struggle to build a revolutionary realm of Red Virtue took the lives of more of his subjects than did any other leader in human history — Hitler and Stalin included. Crucial episodes in Mao's life and career (which until now have been deliberately obscured) are illuminated, including a secret blood-purge that Mao personally launched in the 1930s, his byzantine struggles with Russia and decisive role in the outbreak of the Korean War, and the Chairman's machinations and imperial behavior that resulted in the cataclysmic Cultural Revolution.

Military strategist, fiendishly clever politician, poet and philosopher, Mao transformed China and changed the world. Philip Short's masterly biography shows how the revolution Mao engineered dragged almost a quarter of humankind out of medieval squalor and splendor into the modern age.

"Synopsis" by ,
When the Nationalists routed a ragtag Red Army on the Xiang River during the Long March, an earthy Chinese peasant with a brilliant mind moved to a position of power. Eight years after his military success, Mao Tse-tung had won out over more sophisticated rivals to become party chairman, his title for life. Isolated by his eminence, he lived like a feudal emperor for much of his reign after blood purge and agricultural failures took more lives than those killed by either Stalin or Hitler. His virtual quarantine resulted in an ideological/political divide and a devastating reign of terror that became known as the Cultural Revolution. One cannot understand today's China without first understanding Mao, and Philip Short's masterly assessment — informed by a wealth of new sources — allows the reader to understand this colossal figure whose shadow will dominate the twenty-first century.

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