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Thread: Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

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    Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

    Can someone please give a comment or two, about this book.

    it's 500 baht and any advice will be appreciated, before I buy it.

    Should I buy this book, or is not as good as the other biographies on Mao?

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    better a tosser than .... Array manned-rake's Avatar
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    Re: Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

    If you like a little skew-by-vitriol in your documentary literature, it's just the biography for you.

    It's advisable to start with Terrell or something a little less burdened by Jung Chang's fervent ideology-driven loathing. Jon Halliday is not the primary author of the book, but he is a real historian, so his name is in big letters on the cover.
    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his _________ depends upon his not understanding it!"

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    Re: Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

    Quote Originally Posted by manned-rake View Post
    If you like a little skew-by-vitriol in your documentary literature, it's just the biography for you.

    It's advisable to start with Terrell or something a little less burdened by Jung Chang's fervent ideology-driven loathing. Jon Halliday is not the primary author of the book, but he is a real historian, so his name is in big letters on the cover.
    Thank you.

    Yes, I noticed from browsing through the book that there is indeed "vitriol." Using adjectives and it's easy to see the bent or bias.

    I'll check out the book by Terrell. Thanks.

    I do think I'll buy this book because it's the only book on Mao available.

    For facts and detials, I think I can get something out of it. Here is a snippet from Amazon.

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com Review

    In the epilogue to her biography of Mao Tse-tung, Jung Chang and her husband and cowriter Jon Halliday lament that, "Today, Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of the Chinese capital." For Chang, author of Wild Swans, this fact is an affront, not just to history, but to decency. Mao: The Unknown Story does not contain a formal dedication, but it is clear that Chang is writing to honor the millions of Chinese who fell victim to Mao's drive for absolute power in his 50-plus-year struggle to dominate China and the 20th-century political landscape. From the outset, Chang and Halliday are determined to shatter the "myth" of Mao, and they succeed with the force, not just of moral outrage, but of facts. The result is a book, more indictment than portrait, that paints Mao as a brutal totalitarian, a thug, who unleashed Stalin-like purges of millions with relish and without compunction, all for his personal gain. Through the authors' unrelenting lens even his would-be heroism as the leader of the Long March and father of modern China is exposed as reckless opportunism, subjecting his charges to months of unnecessary hardship in order to maintain the upper hand over his rival, Chang Kuo-tao, an experienced military commander.
    Using exhaustive research in archives all over the world, Chang and Halliday recast Mao's ascent to power and subsequent grip on China in the context of global events. Sino-Soviet relations, the strengths and weakness of Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese invasion of China, World War II, the Korean War, the disastrous Great Leap Forward, the vicious Cultural Revolution, the Vietnam War, Nixon's visit, and the constant, unending purges all, understandably, provide the backdrop for Mao's unscrupulous but invincible political maneuverings and betrayals. No one escaped unharmed. Rivals, families, peasants, city dwellers, soldiers, and lifelong allies such as Chou En-lai were all sacrificed to Mao's ambition and paranoia. Appropriately, the authors' consciences are appalled. Their biggest fear is that Mao will escape the global condemnation and infamy he deserves. Their astonishing book will go a long way to ensure that the pendulum of history will adjust itself accordingly. --Silvana Tropea

    10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

    Q: From idea to finished book, how long did Mao: The Unknown Story take to research and write?
    A: Over a decade.

    Q: What was your writing process like? How did you two collaborate on this project?
    A: The research shook itself out by language. Jung did all the Chinese-language research, and Jon did the other languages, of which Russian was the most important, as Mao had a long-term intimate relationship with Stalin. After our research trips around the world, we would work in our separate studies in London. We would then rendezvous at lunch to exchange discoveries.

    Q: Do you have any thoughts about how the book is, or will be received in China? Did that play a part in your writing of the book?
    A: The book is banned in China, because the current Communist regime is fiercely perpetuating the myth of Mao. Today Mao's portrait and his corpse still dominate Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, and the regime declares itself to be Mao's heir. The government blocked the distribution of an issue of The Far Eastern Economic Review, and told the magazine's owners, Dow Jones, that this was because that issue contained a review of our book. The regime also tore the review of our book out of The Economist magazine that was going to (very restricted) newsstands. We are not surprised that the book is banned. The regime's attitude had no influence on how we wrote the book. We hope many copies will find their way into China.

    Q: What is the one thing you hope readers get from your book?
    A: Mao was responsible for the deaths of well over 70 million Chinese in peacetime, and he was bent on dominating the world. As China is today emerging as an economic and military power, the world can never regard it as a benign force unless Beijing rejects Mao and all his legacies. We hope our book will help push China in this direction by telling the truth about Mao.
    Breakdown of a BIG Book: 5 Things You'll Learn from Mao: The Unknown Story

    1. Mao became a Communist at the age of 27 for purely pragmatic reasons: a job and income from the Russians.

    2. Far from organizing the Long March in 1934, Mao was nearly left behind by his colleagues who could not stand him and had tried to oust him several times. The aim of the March was to link up with Russia to get arms. The Reds survived the March because Chiang Kai-shek let them, in a secret horse-trade for his son and heir, whom Stalin was holding hostage in Russia.

    3. Mao grew opium on a large scale.

    4. After he conquered China, Mao's over-riding goal was to become a superpower and dominate the world: "Control the Earth," as he put it.

    5. Mao caused the greatest famine in history by exporting food to Russia to buy nuclear and arms industries: 38 million people were starved and slave-driven to death in 1958-61. Mao knew exactly what was happening, saying: "half of China may well have to die."




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    Re: Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

    After I read the book, I took my angry ass to the Internet to find reviews that would support my sense that this was, like Iris Chang's book on Nanking, yet another Chinese woman writer venting vitriol and hatred in a "scholarly" book. LRB and NYRB each carried excellent, informed, scholarly reviews. I would read them before reading the book.

    There are no new "facts" at all in the book, so if you've read a few biographies of Mao, all you really notice is the skew. Some of their interpretations are beyond insupportable.

    Read with a bag of salt handy.

    A far more enjoyable book that also hates the helmsman but with more genuine heart is the one by his doctor, copies of which are available at Kinokuniya, Paragon, or were a week ago. The Secret Life or some such.

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    Re: Mao: The Unknow Story by John Holliday

    Quote Originally Posted by manned-rake View Post
    After I read the book, I took my angry ass to the Internet to find reviews that would support my sense that this was, like Iris Chang's book on Nanking, yet another Chinese woman writer venting vitriol and hatred in a "scholarly" book. LRB and NYRB each carried excellent, informed, scholarly reviews. I would read them before reading the book.

    There are no new "facts" at all in the book, so if you've read a few biographies of Mao, all you really notice is the skew. Some of their interpretations are beyond insupportable.

    Read with a bag of salt handy.

    A far more enjoyable book that also hates the helmsman but with more genuine heart is the one by his doctor, copies of which are available at Kinokuniya, Paragon, or were a week ago. The Secret Life or some such.
    Thank a lot, for these details. I do want facts, and I understand every biographer will have some sort of bias, and of course flaws.

    I'll check out the books you noted above when I leave Thailand to return to the states.

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    Thanks for the detailed review. Sometimes I like a little vitriol mixed in with my academic

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    It is unkown story but it is good and tell us many information about history.

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    Off-topic, but if you haven't seen this one, it's good for a bit of a laugh.
    The Passion Of The Mao 2006 DVDRip XviD CoWRY www USABIT com - YouTube
    "It's called the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

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    a good one to me too .. appreciate sharing it with us

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