Throughout this lively and concise historical account of Mao Zedong's life and thought, Rebecca E. Karl places the revolutionary leader's personal experiences, social visions and theory, military strategies, and developmental and foreign policies in a dynamic narrative of the Chinese revolution. She situates Mao and the revolution in a global setting informed by imperialism, decolonization, and third worldism, and discusses worldwide trends in politics, the economy, military power, and territorial sovereignty. Karl begins with Mao's early life in a small village in Hunan province, documenting his relationships with his parents, passion for education, and political awakening during the fall of the Qing dynasty in late 1911.
She traces his transition from liberal to Communist over the course of the next decade, his early critiques of the subjugation of women, and the gathering force of the May 4th movement for reform and radical change. Describing Mao's rise to power, she delves into the dynamics of Communist organizing in an overwhelmingly agrarian society, and Mao's confrontations with Chiang Kai-shek and other nationalist conservatives. She also considers his marriages and romantic liaisons and their relation to Mao as the revolutionary founder of Communism in China.
The book is published by Duke University Press.
©2010 Duke University Press (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks
This biography filled out many area of misunderstanding for me since Mao is a complex figure with the enormous vision that grass roots mobilisation of the proletariat could unify and re-dress the inequalities in China that all methods to achieve these aims were tried, by him, regardless of the human cost. So many of the reforms seem to have been beneficial - such as allowing women equality in the workforce but at every step there were disastrous ramifications. This book carefully explains how Mao managed to cause such havoc, hardship and ruin and yet remain a revered historical figure in China, by many, today.
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