Mao Zedong: A Life

Mao Zedong: A Life

Language: English

Pages: 188

ISBN: 0143037722

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Spence draws upon his extensive knowledge of Chinese politics and culture to create an illuminating picture of Mao. . . . Superb.” (Chicago Tribune)

From humble origins in the provinces, Mao Zedong rose to absolute power, unifying with an iron fist a vast country torn apart by years of weak leadership, colonialism, and war. This sharply drawn and insightful account brings to life this modern-day emperor and the tumultuous era that he did so much to shape.
Jonathan Spence captures Mao in all his paradoxical grandeur and sheds light on the radical transformation he unleashed that still reverberates in China today.

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contradictions within the Communist Party itself. Such a method was better than the “ruthless struggle and merciless blows” approach used by Stalin, for Mao now felt that when Stalin was in power, he often “did things badly.” The Seventh Party Congress of 1945 was an example of the correct process at work. Looking at the Chinese counterrevolutionaries who had been killed—according to Mao, some 700,000 “local bullies and evil gentry” between 1950 and 1952—one saw there were no errors. All of them

held an annual summer retreat in the beachside homes built long ago by the foreign imperialists—that Mao’s euphoria reached its pinnacle. The occasion was an enlarged meeting of the Politburo, the inner core of China’s leaders, and Mao’s remarks were scattered in separate speeches spread out over two weeks. In these musings, Mao shared with his senior colleagues a hope for China’s future that had little contact with current reality. Referring to the Great Leap as a continuation of the previous

more hostile to intellectuals as the years went by—perhaps because he knew he would never really be one, not even at the level of his own secretaries, whom he would commission to go to the libraries to track down classical sources for him and help with historical references. Mao knew, too, that scholars of the old school like Deng Tuo, the man he had summarily ousted from the People’s Daily, had their own erudite circles of friends with whom the pursued leisurely hours of classical

that this man was Yang Shangkun, who had ordered the bugging devices planted in Mao’s personal train and in the guest houses where he stayed. In Yang’s place, Mao appointed the head of the central Beijing garrison, whom he knew to be fiercely loyal. At the same time, Lin Biao began to replace key personnel at the top of the military, including the current army chief of staff and former minister of security Luo Ruiqing. In March 1966, after months of relentless questioning about his political

China” was the goal of foreign missionaries, soldiers, doctors, teachers, engineers, and revolutionaries for more than three hundred years. But the Chinese, while eagerly accepting Western technical advice, clung steadfastly to their own religious and cultural traditions. As a new era of relations between China and the United States begins, the tales in this volume will serve as cautionary histories for businessmen, diplomats, students, or any other foreigners who foolishly believe that they can

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