It's a sure sign of fame when a man is known simply by his first name, and Mao Zedong, often referred to simply as Mao or Chairman Mao, was one of the most influential men of the 20th century. He was also arguably the most controversial; as the founder of the People's Republic of China, Mao rose from being a communist revolutionary to successfully overthrowing a regime and transforming China into a communist powerhouse in Asia. The ramifications of Mao's life and legacy are still very much felt today, as China continues to transition into a superpower that may soon lay claim to the world's largest economy.
Mao's communist revolution is still controversial, but it was his reign over China that has made him notorious, and in the West he is often considered one of history's biggest tyrants. Mao's revolution and his subsequent policies have been accused of causing millions of deaths, possibly more than the likes of Hitler and Stalin. It has been roughly estimated that Mao was responsible for the deaths of anywhere from 40-70 million, but he has plenty of defenders as well, who cite Mao's military and political leadership for inspiring similar revolutions across the world.
Chairman Mao: The Life and Legacy of Mao Zedong chronicles the rise of Mao and analyzes his leadership of China and the lasting effects he has had on geopolitics today.