Chang, who was born in China in 1952 and left for Britain in 1978, recounted her family's suffering under Mao in her award-winning Wild Swans (1991). With husband-historian Halliday, she has written a shocking, authoritative account of Mao's life. The authors present evidence that refutes almost every aspect of the Chinese Communist Party's account, from the claim that the Party fought the Japanese to Mao's role in the Long March. Having gleaned indicting information from newly available Chinese and Soviet archives, they depict Mao as a bloodthirsty, ruthless egoist who committed crimes against humanity as serious as Hitler's and Stalin's. While critics acknowledged the authors' contemptuous, one-sided depiction of Mao, few faulted it. Some tedious details, vague generalizations, and scarce imperial history and context for Mao's rise frustrated some critics. But the book will destroy Mao's reputation forever.
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.