Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sets a new standard in Mao biographies
Whatever side of the political fence you sit on (left or right), you will find this book engrossing. This book (years in the making) sets a new standard about the life of the twentieth century's most powerful man.
The research is staggering, and is painstakingly detailed in large sections at the book of the book which lists recent interviews and printed documents...
Published on Dec 25 2005 by Allan Tong

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, and well researched, but unbalanced and vindictive.
Chairman Mao is one of the 3 great dictators of the 20th century. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all sociopathic monsters. Each had his own peculiar pathology and genius. Overall Mao was an amoral egomaniac. Although he might enjoy the death of a particular enemy he didn't seek out widespread death with any pleasure as Stalin, and Hitler did. However, he could could not...
Published 2 months ago by Jag Sulla


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sets a new standard in Mao biographies, Dec 25 2005
By 
Allan Tong (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Hardcover)
Whatever side of the political fence you sit on (left or right), you will find this book engrossing. This book (years in the making) sets a new standard about the life of the twentieth century's most powerful man.
The research is staggering, and is painstakingly detailed in large sections at the book of the book which lists recent interviews and printed documents (past and present). Despite his accomplishments, there's no denying that Mao caused the deaths of millions of his countrymen, and held back the economic, political and cultural progress of the world's largest nation.
In particular, the Cultural Revolution of the 60s remains the most shameful and horrifying chapter in recent Chinese history. Survivors of that era have recounted their horror stories many times, and this book corroborates their accounts.
One thing remains common in every era of Maoist China: his appetite for power. Mao deserves credit for ousting the "foreign barbarians" uniting China under one flag, but in the end Mao was another Chinese emperor, a despot who clung to power too long for the country's good and wound up destroying whatever legacy he had built in his early life.
This sentiment will offend Maoists -- and there remain many among the Chinese, just like JFK is a sacred cow to the Americans, Trudeau for Canadians, and Churchill to the Brits. But Mao's legacy is covered in blood, not glory, and this monumental book tells why. Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, and well researched, but unbalanced and vindictive., Feb. 11 2015
Chairman Mao is one of the 3 great dictators of the 20th century. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all sociopathic monsters. Each had his own peculiar pathology and genius. Overall Mao was an amoral egomaniac. Although he might enjoy the death of a particular enemy he didn't seek out widespread death with any pleasure as Stalin, and Hitler did. However, he could could not truly care for people; even his own family. The masses were simply a resource to him, the only resource he had an abundance of. Spending 70 million people out of 900 million is no big deal if it helps him achieve his perception of 'greatness'.

To write a true impartial biography of this man though, you have to also address the gravitas and personal energy it takes to take power and keep that power for decades. At the particular skill of power politics Mao was an unprecedented genius. Unlike Hitler, who was also a genius, Mao knew when to step back and live to fight another day. As when his #2 Liu Shao-chi stood up to him in 1962 to stem the tide of famine deaths created by Mao's programs. Mao saw the writing on the wall, smoothly accented, and carefully redirected blame away from himself, while carefully planning revenge. Not enough is written about Deng Xiao-peng's involvement in the Mao regime. He just suddenly appears near the end of the book.

Chang's invective tries to put every single thing Mao does in the worst possible light, which makes this book unbalanced and unprofessional, while still being an excellent read with great scholarship done to back up the book. Even the worst gangster or terrorist has positive character traits as well. Mao was an amoral sociopath... but also a cunning man driven to make China a 'GREAT' nation. Upon reading reviews that scholars of modern China have written (Andrew Nathan, Columbia University Professor and Chair among others)I have to downgrade my original review. Just because someone writes a compelling book, don't take everything they write as gospel truth. It turns out that much of what what Chang and Halliday have written can not be supported or substantiated. Legitimate documentation is mixed seamlessly with tenuous or false documentation. Legitimate insight is mixed with wild speculation and putting words in people's mouths. As Andrew Nathan puts it: 'jade and plastic'. Mixing good scholarship with bad. Don't let this book be your only source of information about Mao.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Why? Who benefits from this?, Feb. 11 2015
By 
Marc Ranger "Baseball fan" (québec, canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Paperback)
It is really impressive that, years after years, information about tyrans like Mao leaks out and put Nazisims into perspective. Don't get me wrong, the Shoah was an horrible chapter of human history. However, I often wonder why Hitler is still today talked about in mainstream medias as the ultimate despot when rulers like Stalin and Mao did even more horrible mass killings.

If you are to believe "Mao, the Unknown Story", Mao directly killed for personnal gain and power over 70 millions Chineses. He orchestrated the greatest famine in world's history, he tortured more human being than Hilter, Himmler and Stalin combine. He killed more than 10 times the total of Jews exterminated by Hilter and Nazisims. How come we never hear about that in schools, newspapers etc...?

Why? Who benefits from this?

Regarding the book, I can only find one drawback, a reason why I cannot give it a five star rating. The author many times, like on page 520 for instance, makes a statement without proof or solid evidence :

"...undoubtedly for Mao, as it could not have been done without his authorization."

The author may be right, but there is still doubt that lacking proof, he simply cut the corner as it is simpler to accuse the obvious suspect, even more so when it fits well into the big picture you are trying to draw.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner!, April 3 2010
By 
Frank Rayal (Toronto, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Paperback)
This is the only Mao biography I read, so I cannot compare to other books. However, the book on its own makes for an easy read and a very interesting one at that. It is a true page turner. The authors are biased against Mao, and cannot be blamed for that considering the consequences of Mao's actions and in particular the effect on Jung Chang and her family. Nevertheless, I don't think this distract from the scholarship. The amount of research that went into this book is large. In all, it does show a very dark and selfish character that is quiet shocking. It is a highly recommended book to also understand the history of China in the 20th century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Serious but interesting book, Dec 31 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Paperback)
I have read her book Wild Swan, then this, and I am really fond of them, and I think Ms.Jung's writing style is more maturied in this book.
Thanks and we hope she can bring us more great works by then.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative., Feb. 28 2014
By 
Duncan Jacob - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very well researched. Amazing that such an evil man was able to rise to power the way he did. Scary that some politicians in Canada and the US actually admired him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars indepth, Dec 14 2005
By 
James Ryan (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Hardcover)
Very thorougly done. Groundbreaking information... well documented sources to back it up.
Fascinating read--very few uninteresting stretches
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Traitor of China, Aug. 6 2011
By 
Richard J. Mcisaac (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Paperback)
Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang, Jon Halliday, Alfred Knopf Pub., 2005, pp. 814

This book is extremely well-researched supported by many end notes, references, historical pictures and maps. Many sources are recent revealing hitherto unknown facts about this monster. My purpose here is an attempt to induce you to read this book so you truly know what nature mistakenly produced. Unfortunately, in order for the Party not to have to admit years of errors, this notorious person is still worshipped as China's hero.

'All it is, is a big pile of people dying' (p. 414) This is mao's response when ask about the destruction caused by a nuclear attack on China. This is how he saw the people in every confrontation or incident he created. Phrases and poetic lines similar to this were used repeatedly when he was informed the people were starving; this is what he thought of those who died in battles (many designed purposely by him); this is how he felt when shipping new conscripts to the fronts in Korea, Vietnam and India; this is why he could prolong the Korean war and still sleep; this is why he could set quotas for people to be executed under fabricated stories; this why he was a married womanizer (four times) and cared nothing for his children; this is why he could sell billions of dollars worth of food stuff to Russia and virtually give it away to other countries whose patronage he sought, while millions suffered from starvation in his own country; this is why he could feast on gourmet food, some shipped from France, while demanding the people eat tree leaves and not eat any more than 140 g per day; this is why I judge him to be the personification of evil itself. Why does China still honor this epitome of destruction? Maybe because they have no heroes ' they were all massacred in Nanjing, Korea, on the farms, in the farm prisons, in the universities, in government, like Liu Shaogi and Premier Zhao Ziyang. 'Half of China may well have to die' is what he admitted to push through The Great Leap Forward.

This is the world's worst maniac who was responsible for the deaths of 70 million. From the beginning, even while on the fringes of the fledging party, his ambition was to rule the party, then advanced to ruling all China and once achieved, to rule the world. Yes, this sadistic maniac actually felt he was totally qualified to rule a unified world! He plotted against his comrades; wiped out whole armies for his selfish purpose; lied to everyone including Russia which backed him; he forced unrealistic programs on the people regardless of repercussions and when they failed, used scapegoats; he was a control freak from newspapers, radio, TV, government and yes, even private houses and clothing; he was the supreme hypocrite demanding one thing of the people but living luxuriously in many villas; he distrusted everyone and anyone who came to close to power, were eradicated or imprisoned, except for Chou Enlai; he was devious, a liar, plotter, disloyal, supremely selfish and paranoid as shown Feb 27, 1957 Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom. His plan was to eradicate intellectuals, the educated, writers, artists and historians with the purpose of striking fear into the top echelon who would oppose his movement towards becoming a Superpower. He alone executed the plan, the lies, the trap with expected results. He was a master at this. This book is filled with purges, plots, and terror programs. Each had a specific design and purpose. His right hand man in all this was Chou Enlai who reeks of sympathy as he lay dying but who was a complicit and murderous as his boss.

I am actually becoming worked up as I write this, just as I was when reading of the terror. You cannot help but be moved with horror for the millions of Chinese who suffered torture, imprisonment, humiliating denouncements, separation from family and loved ones, and death. The almighty Party has been able to hide these true facts and promotes loyalty to this monster. I truly wonder how many of this generation in the Party have ever attempted to discover what this monster was truly like? I doubt it. No one can learn of this material and not be deeply affected with abhorrence, shock, disbelief and tears. Read it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From One Who Really Loves China, Feb. 6 2006
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Hardcover)
I found it extremely hilarious that some still insists that Mao brings "peace" to China. What peace? Anyone who has lived the past century in China could tell you that the majority of Chinese people has never enjoyed a moment peace in their mind during Mao's rule. Thank heaven, it has all become history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent transaction, Jan. 18 2010
By 
A. Grant - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mao: The Unknown Story (Hardcover)
I purchased the book from this seller because of the excellent reviews it had received, not because had the lowest price. It arrived from Canada packaged so well that it took some time to open it carefully without damaging the book. The book itself was brand new, as advertised. I recommend the Monts unhesitatingly; you won't be disappointed with any aspect of their service.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Mao: The Unknown Story
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jon Halliday (Paperback - Nov. 14 2006)
CDN$ 23.00 CDN$ 16.61
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews