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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the Jiangxi and Yanan years, he continued to make the furtherance of women’s rights an integral part of the CCP’s message. Mao’s numerous and celebrated studies of the peasant question all showed a sensitivity to the special place and needs of women in the economic and social order and offer a number of fascinating insights into their status and position as he saw it. He commended the special skills of women as propaganda agents. He pressed for their right to hold property on the same terms as

hierarchy, in part because of the obvious scandal that attached to her relationship with Mao, but also because she was an illiterate peasant girl. It is striking how persistent traditional class prejudices could be in the new egalitarian China. The truth was that Mao had a penchant for young, naive and poorly educated girls. According to his doctor, Mao’s taste in women was like his eating habits. When he liked a particular dish he would have it for days on end until he was sated. He would then

hierarchical structure of imperial China, but because the Qing had presided helplessly over the decline of the nation. He had resisted the Guomindang not simply because they were bourgeois oppressors, but because they had proved no more capable of saving the nation than had the Qing. His adoption of Communism was also an expression of his longing to restore China to its original greatness. His saw in Marxism-Leninism, with its notion of dialectical struggle and its call for violent class

Communist leaders led commentators to suggest that the Communists had helped plan the coup. This remained the GMD claim for decades despite the lack of hard evidence of CCP collusion. In any case, the question that mattered at the time was not whether Mao and his colleagues had plotted with Zhang to seize Chiang but how they would respond to the event. In one obvious sense, Chiang’s arrest provided a huge opportunity for the Communists. They now had at their mercy the man who for a decade had

enterprise worked effectively and offered the local peasants something they had not known before – a degree of self-organisation and protection. However, all the smaller committees were ultimately subject to the authority of an over-arching revolutionary committee. Since this larger body was under the direct control of the CCP, the overall structure was democratic in appearance only. Communist rule prevailed. Some Western observers were greatly impressed by the Yanan soviets. Edgar Snow, who

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