I felt very disappointed to find little new facts in the book while the authors’ explicitly biased tone in the book quickly roused my questioning about their objectivity.
Jung has put so much hatred and anger into their book that it completely clouded their common sense of fairness and justice in their writing. Letting her personal feeling to blind her judgment and writing in such a prejudiced way will not help achieving her supposed goal: to tell a true story of modern China and to expose Mao and his followers for their crime.
Reading the book brought me right back to the time of Mao’s era, not because the story was about that period but because the tone of the writing was so familiar, reminding me of the “internal materials” published by the communist government. Every historical event related to a criticized political figure would be re-written and every thing he/she did would be interpreted as with evil intentions.
Surprisingly and unfortunately, Jung and Jon’s writing used pretty much the same approach the communist party used in Mao’s years. Through out the book, I saw the same approach of quoting out of context, using partial facts or twisted facts, making generalization without solid supporting facts, using sensational stories to enhance emotional impact on the readers and asserting conclusions to the readers without any space for dispute.
It is such a tragedy that Jung, as a victim of the terrible years of Mao’s reign, who suffered the forced brain washing of the communist government, is now, 40 years later, using the exact same methods employed by the communist party, to tell a partial story to the unsuspicious readers, who would never suspect that in a democratic society, they can also be subject to same type of brainwashing that is done to the people in China.
IT IS HARD TO FIND A MORE DEPLORABLE LEADER IN THE 20TH CENTURY THAN MAO OR EVEN HIS EQUAL. HITLER WAS A NICE GUY BY COMPARISON. IT IS NO WONDER THIS AUTHOR SOUNDS BIASED AGAINST HIM. THIS BOOK SHOULD SERVE AS A WAKE UP CALL SEEING THAT THIS TERRIBLY TRAUMATIZED NATION WILL SOON BE AT THE APEX OF WORLD POWER. HAVING BEEN REARED BY SUCH A CRUEL TASK MASTER WHAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP WILL IT PROVIDE IN THE WAKE OF USA'S PREEMINENCE? METHINKS THE NATIONS WILL HARKEN BACK FONDLY TO THE DAYS WHEN AMERICA WAS AT THE WORLD'S HELM. WE HAD THE LIKES OF GEORGE WASHINGTON , DECENT AND NOBEL IN WORD AND DEED WHO SET OUR PRECEDENTS. BY COMPARISON: RED CHINA'S GOT ONE VERY LONG CRUEL CRUEL NIGHTMARE TO LOOK TO AT HER FOUNDING. MERCY!
HE'S A GOOD READER. DUNNO ABOUT CHINESE PRONUNCIATION.
I know little of Chinese history, and was excited about this book. However, I only listened to five hours before I gave up. I don't know enough to comment on the accuracy of any of the statements, it may be that Mao was really as evil they portrayed him, but it felt like slander and character assassination to me.
The book is so biased against Mao that it raised skepticism in my mind regarding it validity. There is a great deal of unnecessary description of gory punishments. Given that they happened more than 40 years ago, it is unlikely that the authors actually validated them. They appeared to overstate them to sell more copies of the book. That aside, Robertson Dean did an excellent job of narration, as he always does.
This books tells a good story with vivid details. I can imaging it enjoyable if you read it as a fiction or if you knew little about related history. Apparently, a lot of research went to the construction of the book, which makes it valuable in its own way. Some parts of the book are excellent, which I enjoyed.
Unfortunately, the book choose to tell a convenient story and in the process ignored a huge amount of historical facts. Too often, this book oversimplifies, makes the whole thing feel like a third rate Hollywood movie.Too often, this book over exaggerates. One example is the the role played by "super moles".
Another major flaw of the book is lack of context. You can't write a bio about Mao without a significant amount of comparison with Chiang Chung-cheng. Or CCP with KMT. You can't write a bio about Mao without a basic introduction of Chinese culture. This lack of Chinese background is extremely disappointing since the leading author is Chinese.
Mr. Dean did a good job narrating the book. The only flaw is his pronunciation of Chinese names. Of all the major names of people and places, 5-10 are easy to understand. The rest takes quite some head scratching.
1) Awful narration
Imagine listening to an audiobook about italian cooking, only to have the narrator pronouce gnocchi as "Guh No Chi". Yeah. That's this book right here. You are telling me of all the working narrators out there, they can't get someone that can pronounce Chinese names properly? Really? Chinese is very tonal, and his complete butcher job made it hard to understand or discipher between names/places. It was painful to listen to.
2) Filled with information while not being informative.
This book should be called "a bullet list of things that makes me hate Mao".
That's all it is. A big ol' list of why Mao is awful with hardly any context.
For example, the book seem to think that Mao doesn't obey anyone's orders, including the Russians who were backing the burgeoning communist movement. But the Russians kept backing him because "they needed a star" or some such reasoning. Um... what? Give us some more context as to why that was. I don't feel like I understood much more about Mao or China, or communist politics as a result of this book. I just now have a big list of reason why the author hates Mao.
I've listened to many books now, and this one is utterly unreadable for people that are not familiar with Chinese names. You'll be lost by the fourth hour of listening.
It felt less like a biography and more like a detailed and overly graphic catalog of crimes against humanity.
An unbiased telling of the history of Mao Zedong.
Since reading this book I have found out just how many historians and academics completely disregard this "memoir". This is not actually worthy of being considered a history, it's mostly fiction.