Mao: The Unknown Story Mao discussion

A Tough Read, but worth it

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Susan I read the first book by the author Chang, Wild Swans, and was riveted. I bought this book because of the first and find it very hard reading solely because of the subject matter. Mao was not a kind man in any way and the exact details of what he did to people or had done to people is not pleasant. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend it.

Leslie Sometimes this book was so detailed I felt like I was slogging through it instead of reading it. But the info is consistent with the other books I've read about Mao and the Chinese Communist Party. One of my big pet peeves is the people know so much about Hitler and Stalin and so little about Mao, who was responsible for more deaths than Hitler and Stalin combined. He also caused the worst famine in recorded history by launching the Great Leap Forward and several other off the wall policies. His god-like status at that time is really hard for me to conprehend. I think this book shows that he wasn't a good person corrupted by power, but that he was a corrupt person that sought and attained the power of life and death over the people of China.

Pamela I agree with Susan that this was a tough read but worth it. There were many nights (after an exhausting day as a SAHM with three kids) where I would be barely able to keep my eyes open as I tried to read a few pages before bed. But this book explained a lot about his different campaigns and why he pushed them. There has been some controversy about the accuracy of some of the information, but overall, I think it is a book worth reading if one wants more insight into Twentieth Century China.

I am now reading The Private Life of Chairman Mao, written by his personal physician, Dr. Li Zhisui. As it is written from a personal perspective, it is more readable than Mao: The Unknown Story. I actually started it immediately after I finished Jung Chang's book, which turned out well-it starts exactly where Jung Chang left off--with his death.

message 4: by Kara (new)

Kara Dunn i LOVED it. it was a little dificult but TOTALY worth it

Leslie The Private Life of Chairman Mao is extremely interesting! I couldn't put it down!

Pamela Leslie,

I am also having a hard time putting down the Private Life of Chairman Mao. It is going much quicker than Mao: The Untold Story!

Leslie Do you like to read books about Mao, the Cultural Revolution and modern Chinese history? I do. I haven't got most of them on here, but it's so interesting! What other books have you read on this subject?

Pamela Yes, I have read a good bit. Other books:
1. Wild Swans,also by Jung Chang (author of Mao, The Untold Story);
2. Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan by Chi Fa Lu and Becky White(young adult, but worth reading!);
3. River Town and Oracle Bones, both by Peter Hessler (I highly recommend these!);
4. The Good Women of China, by Xin Ran (collection of essays);
5. Falling Leaves, The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah;
6. Diary Of Ma Yan, The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese School Girl by Ma Yan and Pierre Heski; 7. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See (this is the story of LIsa See's family coming to America--I love everything by Lisa See who also wrote Snowflower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love)
8. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (this is about the last empress of China--her follow-up to this, The Last Empress, was not as good, in my opinion.

Is that enough? How about you? What else have you read?

Leslie Hi!
Wow, you got me inspired to put my China books on my shelf. Some weren't in the data base. I love Wild Swans, it's one of my all time favorite books! You have some good stuff that I am putting on my to read list. Do you have a separate shelf for books about China? How did you get interested in China? For me it was stumbling across a book about the Cultural Revolution and trying to figure out how it got started and the more I read the more I wanted to read and I really go into it for a few years. I still am, but not as actively. Why don't we be on each other's friends list so we can keep up with all these great books about China?
Do you like to read about Tibet too? I ran across Seven Years in Tibet in a goodwill a long time ago, way before they made the movie and that got me interested in Tibet too!

Pamela Leslie,

I have three children from China! I started reading a little bit about their culture and next thing I know, I feel like I am studying for a degree! I belong to an online book club of adoptive parents--some books are about adoption but most are about China. I got many titles from there.

I have not read much about Tibet.

Please do add me as a friend--Pamela Stockwell

Leslie Hi Pamela,
We're on each other's friends lists! It will be great to find out about each other's books! That is so neat--how old are your children? What are their names? A friend of mine has a granddaughter from China, and two other friends have adopted little girls from China. That book club sounds really interesting. I got an advanced reader's copy of Life on Planet China and I just finished the book I've been reading, so I'm not sure. Have you read much fiction based in China? Ha Jin is a favorite at my writer's group. I haven't read much by him yet though. Every time I finish one book and am deciding which one to read next, it's so hard because I have about 50 books that I want to read next! Oh well, I shouldn't complain about my abundant blessings, right?
Have a great day,

message 12: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Farebrother Certainly worth reading. I agree it can be an effort - but it's worth it to gain a comprehensive understanding of what actually happened in China to make it the place it is today.

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