Synopses & Reviews
The first biography of Li Lisan, the first head of China's Communist Party, whose fiery independence led to forced exile under Stalin and eventual execution at the hands of Mao.
Combining an exceptional love story with a gripping tale of incarceration in Stalin's gulag and later in Mao's concentration camps, Patrick Lescot's Before Mao is a deeply moving, beautifully told saga of Li Lisan, Mao's predecessor at the head of the Communist Party, a key member of the Russian and Chinese revolutions.
Told in an engaging, highly dramatic style that reads more like a novel than a standard history, Lescot skilfully unfolds this page–turning biography. Li, who led the Chinese Communist Party in the 1920s, was a rare survivor among the Chinese members of the Internationale. Moving from China to France to the Soviet Union and finally back to China, Before Mao is an extraordinary chronicle of the indomitable human spirit 'allowing us to share in some true moments of emotion, where love wins over totalitarianism's destruction of individuality' (Le Monde).
About the Author
Born in Tunisia in 1953, Patrick Lescot is the editor-in-chief of the foreign news service Agence France-Presse. He has been a correspondent in Johannesburg, Beijing, Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Bangkok, and Phnom Penh. Lescot studied Chinese history and language, philosophy, and journalism and spent several years in China, where he reported on Tibet's uprising in Lhasa and the Tiananmen Square events. He lives in Paris.