Mao: The Unknown Story

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

This is a tour-de-force of reporting by Jung Chang and her husband, Jon Halliday. Weighing in at 832 pages, it is rivetingly told and voluminously documented. Professional historians (Jung Chang is not) will find details to pick over, and will challenge all that is speculative, but if half of the story that is told here holds up to scrutiny — and it is difficult to imagine the contrary — this book will dramatically change the way we see Mao.
Anyone who has read Philip Short, or a host of other works on Mao will already be familiar with his penchant for self-absorption and often disastrous self-assuredness. “The Unkown Story” leaves the reader with an unblinking portrait of a megalomaniac monster.

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