Book collector, lover of history, historical novels & biographies. Never cease to be amazed how one person affects the lives of so many
Yes, I am sure I missed many important points so looking to a second go at this book. I have heard this the facts of the book are questionable but I tend to disagree. Mao's selfish motives are consistent with with the dictators of this time. Fear and terror is their favorite tool of control. Their personal ( very sick) goals leave millions upon millions dead in their wake. Murderous purges of any kind are the norm of those who build a cult of personality. Hidden behind the supposed "savior" image were very sick men, all power hungry, narcissistic, manipulative and loyal to no one but themselves. Stalin said "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." The"one life" bit is meaningless to these Machiavellian leaders as they create statistics that astound readers. Mao's statistics are unfathomable.
Any biography of a leader where pictures and statues of the leader are abundant and used as propaganda to build a cult of personality describe the same sick man, Mao, however, is especially cruel, deceptive and manipulative. Its as if they innately follow the same recipe of leadership, the similarities are astounding, same man, same heinous methodology, different region of the world.
yes I have, consistent.
Impossible, much to long
learn how one sick man, in a position of power, will destroy millions of lives in multiple generations without one ounce of regret or remorse.
This could have been much better if narrator Robertson Dean had spent a little time researching how to pronounce the Chinese names and place names. He had to know that in performing a biography about Mao, he was sure to attract an audience familiar with Chinese history, geography, and language. I will concede that the authors made the task a challenge by failing to standardize their romanized Chinese in either Hanyu Pinyin or Wade-Giles. However, his awful attempt to apply Romance language phonetics to every word was at best a distraction, at worst, downright confusing. X's are not pronounced like Z's and Q's are not pronounced like K's.
I appreciated what the authors were trying to do with this biography. In contrast to the Chinese Communist Party's official accounts of Mao's life, this book is well researched, and it tells a side of the story that the party would prefer to hide. A more appropriate title might be "The Sins of Mao". I certainly wouldn't consider this to be an objective account, but it reveals the truth behind many persistent myths.
History Nerd with an emphasis on the history of the Great War. I live in San Jose CA
A binge listening audiobook if there ever was one. Granted the subject at hand is the sin qua non of an awful person, but wow, is he ever so good about being bad. Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year one learns exactly what kind of monster we are dealing with. What we are dealing with is a man who gives both Hitler and Stalin a real run for the roses.
Cold, calculating, utterly unconcerned with the violence, misery and death he is inflicting. He is shown to be a totally amoral man only concerned with his own needs, need to power, and vendettas.
In loving detail (if loving is the right word) one is treated to men and women both high and low who are ground down to a fine powder by Mao, even, actually especially, his wives. We get a pretty grim portrait of the man and how he was very much the Red Emperor; with all the megalomania, egomania, and l'état, c'est moi that entails.
For example: palaces are made to specs, just so Mao can "enjoy" a view he might take in a decade from their construction, if at all. Mind you these edifices are made in a nation that is desperately poor and for the most part starving, uneducated, and worked mercilessly. Meanwhile, it's great to be the Emperor, go where ever you want in your armored car, eat whatever you want, and bed whatever woman catches your fancy. It's even more fun to contemplate and then enact the destruction of anyone who dares challenges your will in the slightest degree.
I could write more about this, but then I would be in spoiler territory. Go. Get. Listen. This is a wonderful Audio Book about a horrible man.
This book was very informative! I had no idea Mao was so evil and stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Hitler and Stalin as histories most despicable characters. While I feel there may have been some embellishment in some areas, other books I have since read validate many of the main points.
I've read many China books and felt I had a decent handle on who Mao was. This book took it to a deeper level showing the hunger for power, the hell he put the population through and his sadistic nature. At the same time it dispelled the myth that this was someone with a vision for a better way of life through the new communism. His dictatorial control put so many millions through sheer hell, turning his wrath on everyone including his closest friends and allies.
Man, If you didn't already dislike Mao, you certainly will after hearing what an a-hole he was for 30 straight hours. I did listen to the entire thing. If an absolutely thorough attack on Mao is was you're looking for, this is it.
I believe, though I don't have time to prove, that there is significant single-source material in the book. That is, the authors go out of their ways to report some extremely negative nugget about Mao with little to show in the way of proof. And what I was left asking was why stretch? There was ample, incontrovertible evidence he was a total jerk. Maybe leave some of that out and cut it down to 15 hours. Or find a way to include something positive someone did in response to Mao, some heroic action, some figure who stood in opposition to his fascism. This history is unrelentingly negative. It's very depressing.