Mao Zedong: A Life

Mao Zedong: A Life

Language: English

Pages: 188

ISBN: 0143037722

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Spence draws upon his extensive knowledge of Chinese politics and culture to create an illuminating picture of Mao. . . . Superb.” (Chicago Tribune)

From humble origins in the provinces, Mao Zedong rose to absolute power, unifying with an iron fist a vast country torn apart by years of weak leadership, colonialism, and war. This sharply drawn and insightful account brings to life this modern-day emperor and the tumultuous era that he did so much to shape.
Jonathan Spence captures Mao in all his paradoxical grandeur and sheds light on the radical transformation he unleashed that still reverberates in China today.

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sky’s Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx. Yet if Mao was now getting a more specific knowledge of Marxist-socialist theories, he remained very eclectic in his own mind—his surviving letters to friends from this time show him dreaming of a wide range of options, including a work-study school in the verdant Yuelu hills outside Changsha, a dream he had harbored since 1918. The students and teachers would learn and work at farming in all its aspects—from tending vegetables and flowers to raising rice

customary order of things should never be restored. There would be no Twelfth Night to end the Christmas season. The will of most people seemed frail to Mao, their courage to bear the pain of change pathetically limited. So Mao would achieve the impossible for his countrymen by doing their thinking for them. This Lord of Misrule was not a man who could be deflected by criticisms based on conventional premises. His own sense of omniscience had grown too strong for that. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I OWE

an earlier Chinese patriotic thinker opposed to the Manchu conquest of 1644. This location was made possible by the fact that Mao’s fellow Communist delegate from Hunan, the fifty-one-year-old scholar He Shuheng, had been named director of the academy, and the Hunan government had provided it with a monthly stipend of 400 Chinese dollars. The goal of the new university, Mao stated, was to get away from the “mechanical conformity of teaching methods” still all too common, and to form a fully

conference, Peng presented his critical views in a circumspect way, not by grandstanding but by submitting a personal letter to the chairman. In that letter, written during the night of July 12 and hand-delivered to Mao on the thirteenth, Peng pointed out that despite many increases in production during the Great Leap so far, it had been a story of both “losses and gains” (he reversed the normal phrase “gains and losses”). Exaggeration had run through the whole campaign, and in steel production

revolution spread through Hunan and out across the country. In February 1912, deserted by most of their former supporters, the Qing regents abdicated. China became a republic, led briefly by Sun Yat-sen, and then by one of the former Qing military strongmen who had also been interested in strengthening the state and recasting the form of the government. The immediate lesson that Mao absorbed in these tumultuous events was the transient nature of fame and success. The two men who had done the

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