Mao: A Biography: Revised and Expanded Edition / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Stanford University Press
Everyone who came in close contact with Mao was taken aback at the anarchy of his personal ways. He ate idiosyncratically. He became increasingly sexually promiscuous as he aged. He would stay up much of the night, sleep during much of the day, and at times he would postpone sleep, remaining awake for thirty-six hours or more, until tension and exhaustion overcame him.
Yet many people who met Mao came away deeply impressed by his intellectual reach, originality, style of power-within-simplicity, kindness toward low-level staff members, and the aura of respect that surrounded him at the top of Chinese politics. It would seem difficult to reconcile these two disparate views of Mao. But in a fundamental sense there was no brick wall between Mao the person and Mao the leader. This biography attempts to provide a comprehensive account of this powerful and polarizing historical figure.
|Publisher:||Stanford University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Ross Terrill is a Research Associate at Harvard University's East Asian Research Center. He is the author of several books on China, including Madame Mao: The White-Boned Demon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I decided to read a biography of Mao after seeing "Nixon in China," the opera by John Adams, in a live-at-the-met" production a couple of months ago. Seeing the opera made me realize how little I knew about Mao, although I'd taken two terms of Chinese/Japanese history in college in the mid-60s. (Those covered mostly the ancient cultural history and certainly didn't go beyond mid-19th century at all.) Reviews led me to this revised 1999 edition of Terrill's biography.I was somewhat alarmed by what seemed to me a tendency to uncritical acceptance of Mao's own recollections of his childhood and early youth, but I suppose that that's almost inevitable when dealing with the very early life of someone completely unknown and insignificant at that stage of life. Documentation, naturally enough, steadily improves as the book goes along.I do think it's well-written and I found it kept my interest keen after the childhood section. I haven't read enough about Mao and modern Chinese history to judge how accurate it is, but it certainly has been praised by those who know more. And it's heightened my interest sufficiently so that I expect to read more about the history of the era and today's China as well.