Mao: the unknown story
After Mao Zedong conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the death of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history.
In all, well over 70 million Chinese perished under Mao’s rule – in peacetime. Mao led a roller-coaster life, as he intrigued and fought every step of the way to force through his unpopular decisions.
In their groundbreaking biography of Mao Zedong (1893-1976) Jung Chang and her husband Jon Halliday give a fresh look at Mao in both content and approach. Their biography is based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao’s close circle in China and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him. The result is the demythologization of the great communist leader, showing a complete unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology; his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back tot the 1920s, ultimately bringing him to power; he welcomed Japanese occupation of much of China; and he schemed, poisoned and blackmailed to get his way. Mao’s dark character and the enormity of his behaviour towards his wives, mistresses and children were revealed for the first time.
Jung Chang was born in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) she worked as a peasant, a ‘barefoot’ doctor, a steelworker, and an electrician before becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. She left China for Britain in 1978 and was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the University of York, where she obtained a PhD in Linguistics in 1982 - the first person from the People’s Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university.
Jung Chang is the author of the best-selling book Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China, which has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into 32 languages. Wild Swans has won many awards, including the NCR Book Award UK (1992), UK Writers’ Guild Best Non-Fiction (1992) and Book Of The Year UK (1993).
Dr Chang has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Buckingham, York and Warwick, the Open University and Bowdoin College, USA.
Her biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: The Unknown Story, was published in English and Dutch in 2005 and in Chinese in 2006. The book has been published in 30 languages.