[Paleopsych] Mao bio book review
Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D.
ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Sun Nov 27 23:11:55 UTC 2005
Mao bio details his reign of cruelty
*By Dennis Lythgoe <http://deseretnews.com/dn/staff/card/1,1228,95,00.html>*
Deseret Morning News
/MAO: THE UNKNOWN STORY, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Knopf, 814
The overwhelming domination of millions of modern Chinese by Mao Tse
Tung has never been given proper historical treatment. Until now.
"Mao: The Unknown Story," a biography by scholars who know both Chinese
and Russian, is a welcome addition to modern scholarship.
The erudite authors tell of Mao's rush to power by climbing over Chiang
Kai Shek, his causing the 1961 death of 38 million people in the
greatest famine in history, his ready access to Russia's Joseph Stalin
(his model in most respects), the intimate connection between Chinese
and Russian communism, Mao's dominating personality and lack of respect
for nearly all people, the Cultural Revolution that degraded,
intimidated and tortured virtually every class of society and his
unrelenting desire to control the entire world.
The argument presented here, and the mass of materials uncovered from
archives around the world, leave a convincing case that Mao at least
deserves equal billing with Stalin and Adolf Hitler for his tyrannical
leadership and for his murderous behavior toward his own people.
Chang and Halliday also paint a detailed portrait of Mao the man —
someone who had no sense of idealism at all and no ability to exercise
love and respect for other human beings, least of all his family.
He had several wives and children and freely abandoned them all. He
claimed his second wife was "the love of his life," but he abandoned her
and their three children — and later when her life was in danger and he
could have saved her, he did nothing. Mao was also a known, consistent
He considered his most infamous wife, his last — known as "Madame Mao" —
to be "full of venom," and he used her to accomplish his dirty work. He
compared her to a scorpion. Indeed toward the end of his life, he feared
a coup from her. And when he died in his bed in 1976, Madame Mao and the
so-called "Gang of Four," who allegedly conspired with her, were
imprisoned by Chinese authorities.
Although Mao himself was always a voracious reader, he hypocritically
attacked reading with communist party members. At a public gathering in
1962, he attacked novels, adding, "The more books you read, the more
stupid you become."
Later, he said, "You can read a little, but reading too much ruins you,
really ruins you."
Similarly, he attacked opera, even though he personally loved it and had
a collection of more than 2,000 cassettes and records. By 1963, he was
criticizing all art forms — opera, theater, folk arts, music, fine arts,
dance, cinema, poetry and literature — because they were "very murky"
and should be considered as "poisonous weeds."
As for singers, poets, playwrights and writers, "Drive the whole lot of
them to the villages. No food for those who don't go."
When Mao began his purging in 1965 (the Cultural Revolution) he began
with peasants, then he attacked intellectuals, and finally the inner
circle of his own advisers. People from all walks of life were
systematically intimidated, tortured and removed from their homes. Mao
carefully orchestrated the whole thing without feeling, understanding
fully that he was disrupting and emasculating the entire country.
The book is the product of prodigious research, but the writing is only
serviceable. There is a great deal of unnecessary repetition. A good
editor could have cut the manuscript in half and still retained the most
important materials and conclusions.
This is not the definitive book on Mao — but it is an impressive
collection of materials that convinces the reader of the realities of
Mao's reign of evil.
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