Mao (Routledge Historical Biographies)

Mao (Routledge Historical Biographies)

Michael Lynch

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0415215781

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Michael Lynch presents an engaging and thorough account of Mao's life and politics, making use of a wealth of primary and secondary sources. He locates Maoism in the broader context of twentieth century Chinese history, discussing the development of the Chinese Communist Party, the creation of the People's Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution, and the part played by Mao in the Cold War. Details of Mao's controversial private life as well as his political and philosophical thought add to this diverse picture of the influential leader.

This well-written biography will be essential reading to anyone interested in twentieth century China and its most memorable figure.

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to appreciate the hurt which his disloyalty caused his father or to understand the natural disappointment felt by Rensheng when his son would not conform to his wishes. Perhaps father and son were too alike for them ever to be close. The tension between them became acute when Rensheng tried to marry Mao off at the age of fourteen. In imperial China it was customary for marriages to be arranged by the parents. The motive was invariably economic. The girl’s family gained a negotiated bride-price,

situation. The danger does not result from military weakness. . . . The real danger lies in the total emptiness and rottenness of the mental universe of the entire Chinese people. They superstitiously believe in spirits and ghosts, in fortune-telling, in fate, in despotism. There is absolutely no recognition of the individual, of self, of truth. This is because scientific thought has not developed.4 Chen’s emphasis upon the pattern underlying the Russian Revolution appealed to Mao’s sense of

peasants, sharecroppers, and farm labourers to resist the imperialists who control China, to overthrow the warlords and corrupt officials, and to resist the local ruffians and bad gentry, so as to protect the interests of the peasants and to promote the national revolutionary movement.12 As a member of both the CCP and the GMD, Mao worked to bring about a genuine alliance between them. As secretary of the CCP’s Central Committee, he wrote to Sun Yatsen suggesting ways in which the two parties

commissioned to organise the united front forces in the province. In 1926 he helped prepare the way for the western units of the allied army to sweep through Guanxi and Hunan, and drive the troops of the local warlord, Zhao Hengti, across the Yangxi M A O T H E C O M M U N I S T A N D T H E N A T I O N A L I S T , 1 9 2 1 – 3 0 61 River. At a special reception in Changsha at the end of the year, Mao was honoured as ‘a son of Hunan’ for his efforts. He later observed that his success owed much

and troops would gain genuine representation and have their grievances settled. Mao knew that a peasant army largely uninformed in political matters would have to be educated to understand this: Education in democracy must be carried on within the Party, so that members can understand the meaning of democratic life, the meaning of the relationship between democracy and centralism, and the way in which democratic centralism should be put into practice. Only in this way can we really extend

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