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The brilliant and intriguing Chang (Wild Swans) has taken a decade to research and interview many who knew Mao Tse-tung at all levels and periods of his life. The result is a thorough examination of a subject as complex as the myths that continue to surround him. The book is chronological and divided by year and periods in the Communist leader's life; it is startling and fascinating to follow his many setbacks, failures, and enemies during his rise to power. Mao's secret goal, to dominate the world, is only slightly less shocking than the brutal methods he used to attain it. Also, his callous attitude toward his family, wives, and mistresses is surprising despite his treatment of fellow Chinese. Narrator Robertson Dean clearly and skillfully presents the dense text, which is supported by personal anecdotes and quotations that he delivers in a very effective and slightly different tone. Listeners will be kept on track by his masterful delivery. This stunning and very important title should be added to all library collections.-Susan G. Baird, Chicago Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Chang and Halliday cast new and revealing light on nearly every episode in Mao's tumultuous life...a stupendous work and one hopes that it will be brought before the Chinese people, who still claim to venerate the man and who have yet to come to terms with their own history..."-Michael Yahuda, "The Guardian ""Jung Chang and Jon Halliday have not, in the whole of their narrative, a good word to say about Mao. In a normal biography, such an unequivocal denunciation would be both suspect and tedious. But the clear scholarship, and careful notes, of "The Unknown Story "provoke another reaction. Mao Tse-Tung's evil, undoubted and well-documented, is unequalled throughout modern history."-Roy Hattersley, "The Observer ""Ever since the spectacular success of Chang's "Wild Swans "we have waited impatiently for her to complete with her husband this monumental study of China's most notorious modern leader. The expectation has been that she would rewrite modern Chinese history. The wait has been worthwhile and the expectation justified. This is a bombshell of a book."-Chris Patten, last British governor of Hong Kong, in "The Times" "A triumph. It is a mesmerising portrait of tyranny, degeneracy, mass murder and promiscuity, a barrage of revisionist bombshells, and a superb piece of research."-Simon Sebag Montefiore, "The Sunday Times ""Jung Chang and Jon Halliday enter a savage indictment drawing on a host of sources, including important Soviet ones, to blow away the miasma of deceit and ignorance which still shrouds Mao's life from many Western eyes...Jung Chang delivers a cry of anguish on behalf of all of those in her native land who, to this day, are still notfree to speak of these things."-Max Hastings, "The Sunday Telegraph""Demonstrating the same pitilessness that they judge to be Mao's most formidable weapon, they unstitch the myths that sustained him in power for forty years and that continue to underpin China's regime...I suspect that when China comes to terms with its past this book will have played a role."-Nicolas Shakespeare, "Telegraph""The detail and documentation are awesome. The story that they tell, mesmerising in its horror, is the most powerful, compelling, and revealing political biography of modern times. Few books are destined to change history, but this one will." -George Walden, "Daily Mail ""decisive biography...they have investigated every aspect of his personal life and career, peeling back the layers of lies, myths, and what we used to think of as facts...what Chang and Halliday have done is immense and surpasses, as a biography, everything that has gone before."-Jonathan Mirsky, "The Independent, "Saturday "written with the same deft hand that enlivened Ms. Chang's 1991 memoir, 'Wild Swans'..."-"The Economist"