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Chinese biography book review - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Mao: The Unknown Story Biography Review Mao: The Unknown Story, a biography written in 2005, is about the life of Mao Zedong, the Communist leader of China, who lived between 1893 and 1976. It was authored by Jung Chang together with her historian husband Jon Halliday, contending that Mao Zedong was responsible for the demise of more people during peace than Stalin and Hitler…
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, they claim that Mao’s motivation since he was a young boy was power, and this led to the murder and arrest of most of his political opponents; whether they were his friends or not. They contend that Stalin’s patronage in the 20s and 30s was responsible for his ascent to the Communist Party’s chairmanship, while the Long March and the decisions he took at the time were not heroic as has been stated by many Chinese scholars. The authors wrote the book to debunk Mao’s mythical status as the Chinese government’s emblem that remains the same to the present day. According to the authors, those areas that were controlled by the Communists in the Civil War were financed by the sale of Opium, which allowed the Communists to rule by terror (Chang & Halliday 156). Sacrificing over five thousand soldiers to rid the party of his enemies and rivals, they claim that Mao was not even responsible for the initial plan to fight off invaders from Japan. His wealthy background ensured that he had no concern for Chinese peasants, which they support by detailing his determination to make the Great Leap Forward successful, leading to the death of millions of Chinese from famine. Mao’s role in the revolution and the Long March was also exaggerated, tweaked throughout years of rule by the Communist Party to make him the leader of the revolution. The autobiography authors claim that he only commanded a small force and was almost left behind, majority of those who marched alongside him disliked him, and came up with flawed strategy and tactics. Mao, along with other elite Communist leaders, is also accused of being privileged and protected from the hardships that his subordinates were going through. Contrary to mythology surrounding the revolution, the biography contends the Luding Bridge Battle was a fabrication and that the heroic crossing was complex propaganda. According to the book, a witness named Li contended that the bridge was never set on fire, nor was there any fighting on the bridge (Chang & Halliday 160). Using battle plans from the Kuomintang, the authors show that those forces on the bridge guarding it were pulled back prior to the attack by the Communists. One major allegation the authors make in the biography is that Mao was in support of opium production and its trade in those areas that the Communists controlled. The trade, according to some sources from Russian archives, generated some $100 million every year for Mao and the Communists (Chang & Halliday 165). The only reason that the production was stopped was because they overproduced the opium, which had a negative impact on the price, rather than the commonly held belief that Mao stopped it due to its immoral nature. They also allege that Mao put those under his command through torture in order to rid the party of those against him. For example, Zhang Guotao was sent into the Gobi desert with a platoon of soldiers on a mission that was hopeless, following which all survivors were ordered killed due to ineptitude. Other ways he used to get rid of his opponents included general purges and cultural revolutions. In comparison to Chinese official information, the authors disclaim the fact that the Communists under Chairman Mao waged guerilla warfare on the Japanese. Instead, they claim that Mao’s main concern was saving his troops to take on the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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