Synopses & Reviews
From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death twenty-two years later, Dr. Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician, which put him in daily and increasingly intimate contact with Mao and his inner circle. In The Private Life of Chairman Mao
, Dr. Li vividly reconstructs his extraordinary experience at the center of Mao's decadent imperial court.
Dr. Li clarifies numerous long-standing puzzles, such as the true nature of Mao's feelings toward the United States and the Soviet Union. He describes Mao's deliberate rudeness toward Khrushchev and reveals the actual catalyst of Nixon's historic visit. Here also are surprising details of Mao's personal depravity (we see him dependent on barbituates and refusing to wash, dress, or brush his teeth) and the sexual politics of his court. To millions of Chinese, Mao was more god than man, but for Dr. Li, he was all too human. Dr. Li's intimate account of this lecherous, paranoid tyrant, callously indifferent to the suffering of his people, will forever alter our view of Chairman Mao and of China under his rule.
"The most revealing book ever published on Mao, perhaps on any dictator in history." Professor Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia University
"An extraordinarily intimate portrait of Mao. [Dr. Li] portrays [Mao's imperial court] as a place of boundless decadence, licentiousness, selfishness, relentless toadying and cutthroat political intrigue." Richard Bernstein, New York Times
"One of the most provocative books on Mao to appear since the publication of Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China in 1938." Paul G. Pickowicz, The Wall Street Journal
"[A] riveting acount of what went on within the inner sanctums...of Communist Party leadership." Orville Schell, The Washington Post Book World
"From now on no one will be able to pretend to understand Chairman Mao's place in history without reference to this revealing account." Professor Lucian Pye, Masschusetts Institute of Technology
"Dr. Li does for Mao what the physician Lord Moran's memoir did for Winston Churchill turns him into a human being. Here is Mao unveiled; eccentric, demanding, suspicious, unregretful, lascivious, and unfailingly fascinating. Our view of Mao will never be the same again." Rose Terrill, author of China in Our Time
From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death 22 years later. Dr. Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician. For most of these years, Mao was in excellent health; thus he and the doctor had time to discuss political and personal matters. Dr. Li recorded many of these conversations in his diaries, as well as in his memory. In this book, Dr. Li vividly reconstructs his extraordinary time with Chairman Mao. of illustrations.