The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday’s "Mao: The Unknown Story"
Author: Gregor Benton,Lin Chun
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday was published in 2005 to a great fanfare. The book portrays Mao as a monster – equal to or worse than Hitler and Stalin – and a fool who won power by native cunning and ruled by terror. It received a rapturous welcome from reviewers in the popular press and rocketed to the top of the worldwide bestseller list. Few works on China by writers in the West have achieved its impact. Reviews by serious China scholars, however, tended to take a different view. Most were sharply critical, questioning its authority and the authors’ methods , arguing that Chang and Halliday’s book is not a work of balanced scholarship, as it purports to be, but a highly selective and even polemical study that sets out to demonise Mao. This book brings together sixteen reviews of Mao: The Unknown Story – all by internationally well-regarded specialists in modern Chinese history, and published in relatively specialised scholarly journals. Taken together they demonstrate that Chang and Halliday’s portrayal of Mao is in many places woefully inaccurate. While agreeing that Mao had many faults and was responsible for some disastrous policies, they conclude that a more balanced picture is needed.
Author: Dean A. Haycock
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
An incisive examination into the pairing of psychology and situation that creates despotic leaders. Not everyone can become a tyrant. It requires a particular confluence of events to gain absolute control over entire nations. First, you must be born with the potential to develop brutal personality traits. Often, this is a combination of narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, paranoia and an extraordinary ambition to achieve control over others. Second, your dangerous personality must be developed and strengthened during childhood. You might suffer physical and/or psychological abuse, or grow up in a trying times. Finally, you must come of age when the political system of your country is unstable. Together, these events establish a basis to rise to power, one that Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi all used to gain life-and-death control over their countrymen and women. It is how Osama bin Laden and the leaders of the Islamic State hoped to gain such power. “Getting inside the heads” of foreign leaders and terrorists is one way governments try to understand, predict, and influence their actions. How can we explain these urges to dominate, subjugate, torture and slaughter? Though these men lived in different times and places, and came from vastly different backgrounds, many of them share similar, abnormal personality traits and, in some cases, mental disorders, including “The Dark Triad:” malignant narcissism, psychopathy and paranoid personalities. Tyrannical Minds reveals how recognizing these traits can provide insight into their motivations and actions, potentially allow us predict their behavior—and even how to stop them.
Author: Michael Lynch
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Michael Lynch’s second edition of Mao examines the life of this controversial figure. Opening with a detailed chronology, it delves into Mao’s younger years and tracks his gradual rise to power, with a chapter dedicated to the cult status that surrounded him. Through a wealth of primary and secondary sources and a balanced consideration of the conflicting views that surround Mao’s leadership, this book provides a thorough exploration of Mao’s political and private life. Key features of the second edition include a detailed analysis of the Long March, an account of Sino-Japanese relations and an assessment of Mao’s ongoing legacy. This biography will be essential reading for anyone interested in Mao and the politics of twentieth-century China.
Author: Michael Lynch
Publisher: Hachette UK
Category: Study Aids
Exam Board: AQA, Edexcel, OCR & WJEC Level: A-level Subject: History First Teaching: September 2015 First Exam: June 2016 Give your students the best chance of success with this tried and tested series' combination of in-depth analysis, engaging narrative and accessibility. Access to History is the most popular, trusted and wide-ranging series for A-level History students. Each title: - Supports the content and assessment requirements of the 2015 A-level History specifications - Contains authoritative and engaging content - Includes thought-provoking key debates that examine the opposing views and approaches of historians - Provides exam-style questions and guidance for each relevant specification to help students understand how to apply what they have learnt This title is suitable for a variety of courses including: - AQA: The Transformation of China, 1937-1997 - Edexcel: Mao's China, 1949-76
Author: Delia Davin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Category: Political Science
As a giant of 20th century history, Mao Zedong played many roles: peasant revolutionary, patriotic leader against the Japanese occupation, Marxist theoretician, modernizer, and visionary despot. This Very Short Introduction chronicles Mao's journey from peasant child to ruler of the most populous nation on Earth. He was a founder of both the Chinese Communist Party and the Red Army, and for many years he fought on two fronts, for control of the Party and in an armed struggle for the Party's control of the country. His revolution unified China and began its rise to world power status. He was the architect of the Great Leap Forward that he hoped would make China both prosperous and egalitarian, but instead ended in economic disaster resulting in millions of deaths. It was Mao's growing suspicion of his fellow leaders that led him to launch the Cultural Revolution, and his last years were dogged by ill-health and his despairing attempts to find a successor whom he trusted. Delia Davin provides an invaluable introduction to Mao, showing him in all his complexity; ruthless, brutal, and ambitious, a man of enormous talent and perception, yet a leader who is still detested by some and venerated by others. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Author: Bolesta, Andrzej
Publisher: Policy Press
Category: Political Science
The re-emergence of China as an economic superpower during its systemic transition is an astonishing phenomenon. China and Post-Socialist Development is the first comprehensive attempt to frame China’s advancements within the context of the East Asian developmental miracle, against the background of post-socialist transformation, asking how has it happened and where does China go from here? In this book the author argues that as China transits from central planning to market, it tries to imitate the institutions and policies of Japan and South Korea during their high growth periods of the second half of the twentieth century. China’s approach – broadly in opposition to the neo-liberal doctrine – has brought impressive results, leading the author to make important predictions about the future. This book is for everybody who is interested in China, development and post-socialist transformation.
Author: S. A. Smith
Publisher: OUP Oxford
The impact of Communism on the twentieth century was massive, equal to that of the two world wars. Until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, historians knew relatively little about the secretive world of communist states and parties. Since then, the opening of state, party, and diplomatic archives of the former Eastern Bloc has released a flood of new documentation. The thirty-five essays in this Handbook, written by an international team of scholars, draw on this new material to offer a global history of communism in the twentieth century. In contrast to many histories that concentrate on the Soviet Union, The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism is genuinely global in its coverage, paying particular attention to the Chinese Revolution. It is 'global', too, in the sense that the essays seek to integrate history 'from above' and 'from below', to trace the complex mediations between state and society, and to explore the social and cultural as well as the political and economic realities that shaped the lives of citizens fated to live under communist rule. The essays reflect on the similarities and differences between communist states in order to situate them in their socio-political and cultural contexts and to capture their changing nature over time. Where appropriate, they also reflect on how the fortunes of international communism were shaped by the wider economic, political, and cultural forces of the capitalist world. The Handbook provides an informative introduction for those new to the field and a comprehensive overview of the current state of scholarship for those seeking to deepen their understanding.
Author: Arthur James Wells
Category: English literature