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The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry | [Ji Chaozhu]

The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square, My Life Inside China's Foreign Ministry

No other narrative from within the corridors of power has offered as frank and intimate an account of the making of the modern Chinese nation as Ji Chaozhu's The Man on Mao's Right. Having served Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist leadership for two decades, and having become a key figure in China's foreign policy, Ji now provides an honest, detailed account of the personalities and events that shaped today's People's Republic.
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Publisher's Summary

No other narrative from within the corridors of power has offered as frank and intimate an account of the making of the modern Chinese nation as Ji Chaozhu's The Man on Mao's Right. Having served Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist leadership for two decades, and having become a key figure in China's foreign policy, Ji now provides an honest, detailed account of the personalities and events that shaped today's People's Republic. The youngest son of a prosperous government official, nine-year-old Ji and his family fled Japanese invaders in the late 1930s, escaping to America. Warmly received by his new country, Ji returned its embrace as he came of age in New York's East Village and then attended Harvard University. But in 1950, after years of enjoying a life of relative ease while his countrymen suffered through war and civil strife, Ji felt driven by patriotism to volunteer to serve China in its conflict with his adoptive country in the Korean War. Ji's mastery of the English language and American culture launched his improbable career, eventually winning him the role of English interpreter for China's two top leaders: Premier Zhou Enlai and Party Chairman Mao Zedong. With a unique blend of Chinese insight and American candor, Ji paints insightful portraits of the architects of modern China: the urbane, practical, and avuncular Zhou, the conscience of the People's Republic; and the messianic, charismatic Mao, student of China's ancient past---his country's stern father figure. Ji is an eyewitness to modern Chinese history, including the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Nixon summit, and numerous momentous events in Tiananmen Square. As he became caught up in political squabbles among radical factions, Ji's past and charges against him of "incorrect" thinking subjected him to scrutiny and suspicion. He was repeatedly sent to a collective farm to be "reeducated" by the peasants.

©2008 Chaozhu Ji; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A true 'fly-on-the-wall' account of the momentous changes in Chinese society and international relations over the last century." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (59 )
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  •  
    Sparkly SF, CA, United States 08-08-13
    Sparkly SF, CA, United States 08-08-13 Member Since 2008

    interested in history, science, and pulp fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating, Strangely Optimistic."

    I found this book to be enchanting. I couldn't put it down. My tween son is listening right now, even. Ji Chaozhu is certainly a witness to history, but he is also clearly a thoughtful, self-deprecating, charming person and an eloquent writer. Ji's vivid storytelling takes us to Manhattan and Harvard in the 1930's and 40's, sharing details of his playful and humorous boyhood that show his deep connections with the U.S. Ji goes through many highs and lows as the political winds change throughout the decades, for sure, but he maintains an optimism and a faith in the overall project of Communism that is weirdly refreshing.

    In Norman Dietz's performance, I grew to love my one-sided conversations with "Little Ji." We disagreed on many things (Ji complains of being treated as a spy in America when, in fact, his father and brother were spies in America, for example), and we part company regarding the incidents of Tiananmen Square (Ji could not seem to fathom why people would complain "now," when finally things were better than they ever were). But I think you will enjoy the repartee. And it will shed light on the stature Premier Zhou En-Lai has in China, as the years go by.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josie 03-20-13
    Josie 03-20-13
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    "Fascinating"

    As a young radical in the late sixties/early seventies, I grew up thinking of Mao as a hero of the people. I knew he was vilified in the West, but was aware of how the US demonizes Communism. This inside view of a Chinese patriot (the author) who loves both China and the US gave me a more balanced view, and rings true. Through his eyes I felt a better understanding for a nation clawing its way out of feudalism. This is not a book about Mao; it's a book about China told from a wise insider's perspective. Extremely well done, and read in a clear, well-paced style well suited to the content.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy Prince George, British Columbia, Canada 01-22-13
    Sandy Prince George, British Columbia, Canada 01-22-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Wished there was more!"
    Would you listen to The Man on Mao's Right again? Why?

    A good book. I have listened to it more than once. The personal notes on public events in China provided at different look at China during the Mao years and since. I enjoyed reading remembering the events and then seeing them from a different angle. Nicely done. You can't help but wish Ji Chaozhu all the best.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Knoxville, TN, United States 05-19-12
    Jay Knoxville, TN, United States 05-19-12 Member Since 2006
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    "If you like Chinese History from different angles"
    What did you love best about The Man on Mao's Right?

    A more realistic look into the more turbulant times in Chinese history,


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Man on Mao's Right?

    no comment


    Have you listened to any of Norman Dietz’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    first one


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    no comment


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 04-03-12
    Amazon Customer United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2010

    Direct Feedback

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a great story"

    This is a great story of a tumultuous time of Chinese history told by a man who lived through it. You really develop a clear image of how hard it must have been to survive the Japanese invasion, growing up as an emigrant in the U.S., then return to your home to struggle through Mao's vision of how to grow China.

    If you are trying to understand China, the people and how to do business there, you should add this to your reading list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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