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Mao Zedong was one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, the most important in the history of modern China. This revelatory new biography draws on thousands of Russian documents about Mao and other Chinese leaders that were available during the period of glasnost and now are less accessible.
Pantsov and Levine trace Mao's rise to leadership from the small village where he was born and show his relentless drive to succeed, vividly describing his growing role in the nascent Communist party of China. They disclose startling facts about his personal life, particularly regarding his health and his lifelong, serial affairs with young women.
Mao was a complex figure, champion of the poor and brutal tyrant, poet and despot. He brought his country from poverty and economic backwardness into the modern age, led a national revolution and made the rest of the world respect China. But he was also responsible for a loss of life exceeding even that of Hitler and Stalin. A disciple of Stalin, he turned against the USSR after Khrushchev came to power, determined that China would depend on no other country. Mao remade his weak country into a powerful one and shrewdly renewed relations with the U.S. as a counter to the USSR. He lived and behaved as China's last emperor. Now readers will have the full story of his life and rule as never before.