Comrades, some months ago I read this book on Mao
I can say that it opened my eyes on China which I knew very little of beforehand. I found some paragraphs in the book to coincide with what I've already heard and knew about him and the revolution, but a lot of things were unknown to me.
Based on this book which seems to be written as a little bit biased against him I realized that Stalin and Mao were the worst combination of leaders to ever be in power at roughly the same time. The first actually helped create the latter. Who was worse? Well, they both crossed the level of attrocities that one cannot even imagine. On body count, Stalin was a pupil vs. Mao. On consequences for the world socialism, Stalin was the ultimate tragedy.
Mao The Unknown Story is nothing but a slanderous smear of Mao and Revolutionary-era China on the level of The Black Book Of Communism. Here's a few threads that refute this piece of libel:
Also, I and many other people have said before and will say again that these "Millions of deaths" are nothing but exaggerations. Please do some research before coming to these conclusions. Do you really think that Anti-Communists have any motivation to present Communism fairly?
I can't do better than Misuzu.
EdvardK: As much as I like the former Yugoslavia, it's not the only good example of a socialist country and leader ship in history. I really hate how you seem to irrationally and venomously criticise everything claiming to be socialist which isn't Yugoslavia. Mao made some royal screw ups in his time but we can't forget how great a leader he was during the revolution and in the early days of the PRC.
Please, stop being so narrow minded and uncritically accepting of Western views.
I won't deny that Mao did a lot of things poorly after the founding of the PRC, particularly in the '60s. Likewise, just as I won't deny that Mao did a lot to deserve being called out for, nor will I deny that there is probably some grain of truth to this, but as a piece of popular history produced for mass consumption in the West, this book... well... it did what it was meant to do, which was being a piece of popular history meant to satiate the thirst for sensationalist stories of "communist evils" and "mad dictators" and so on, and a lot of the "facts" presented were hard to verify. The same goes for Black Book of Communism and almost everything every written about the USSR by Robert Conquest. A lot of this stuff is simply sensationalist pop history, and almost never really taken seriously or even assigned in academia, unless the professor were a staunch anti-communist or wanted to lead a discussion on historiography and criticize how inaccurate most of this crap is.
It's "unknown" because it's simply defamation and smearing on similar levels as the crap put out by that doctor who was supposedly close to Mao but whose claims have also been disputed by serious academic historians. Sorry, but I'd trust people who have done actual research in these matters and don't want to simply jump on the boat of post-Cold War triumphalist communist-bashing over Chang and Mao's supposed "personal" doctor, who make money from Western anti-communists who let them publish their drivel. I can't speak for the entire population of Chinese living in the PRC and abroad, but as someone from China who has relatives there and has seen some of the Chinese online community, there's a lot of distaste for Chang and Dr. Li for what they've written, even among people who are critical of Mao, simply because a lot of what they say isn't true, and their writings only fulfill what anti-communists want to hear, as opposed to telling the truth. That stuff sells, and that's all that matters to the publishers and to these writers, not the truth.
That's an understatement. Jung Chang basically wanted to cast Mao in as negative a light as possible. While I can't say I'm a fan of Mao's policies, it would be hard for me to accept, based on everything that I've learned in university, that Mao deliberately went out of his way to get tens of millions of people killed for no reason other than because he was a bloodthirsty tyrant with power. There's a lot of debates about Mao's intentions and beliefs, and even the Wikipedia, for all of its biases and flaws, shows the various debates about Mao and the complex nature of his policies and personal feelings.
Somewhat true, but not entirely. There's a lot to be said about the influences of Stalin on Mao, but that's not the only source. Mao himself was also well read on Chinese history, and many emperors in the past did undertake massive projects that involved construction and relocation of population to build a stronger country. Mao had also been influenced by Kropotkin as well as some of Trotsky's Permanent Revolution (though the latter would not really be something Mao would admit to, due to Trotsky's status in the USSR), which would explain his anti-bureaucratic tendencies, such as the weakening and decentralizing of the state planning apparatus during the GLF (with some not so great results) and the purges against the state bureaucracy during the CR, while other areas of the Party and the mass media were strengthened during this period also (with also not so great results). I've heard it said that Mao was a dictator but also an anti-bureaucratic populist. In some ways, this description makes sense to a degree, as his mass campaigns were directed from above, but played on and further encouraged popular action, and rooted in popular sentiments that already existed. The Red Guards, for instance, began as a form of student activism, and there was a degree of anti-bureaucratic sentiments and dislike toward a lot of lower-level bureaucrats, but the CR was launched from "above" in some ways, but also had roots at the bottom. It would be false to say that Stalin created Mao, since there were many other influences, not to mention that the CCP almost got destroyed twice due to the interference of the Comintern and the USSR during the 1920's and 1930's, and as such, Mao did not adopt all of Stalin's tactics.
Sorry to be nitpicky, and I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone. If you look at, for example, this and this, these are some of my own criticisms against Mao's policies (the latter tying in with some of my problems with the dogmatically anti-revisionist camp in general). I simply find books like these to be distasteful in their messages and intentions, and also how they are written. I would suggest a book called The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence and a documentary series called China: A Century of Revolution for more accurate, historical perspectives. There's also another book that a former professor of modern Chinese history that I had in the past recommended, called The Battle for China's Past, which I've read excerpts from. These provide a much better view than some popular history meant to appeal to the mainstream by presenting to them what they already think they know in the most sensationalist manner.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
As people have said, this is largely considered to be a work designed to portray Mao in as negative a light as possible. While I admit I've never read it, I've even heard this criticism from non-communist academics about the work.
You are aware that even the Chinese government officially acknowledges that millions of people died during the Great Leap Forward?
Fellow Comrade wrote:
Is this a gag-order? Am I too "revisionist" to express my opinion here? Should i look deep inside me and realise I'm a US stooge or some secret service provocateur?
Would you agree that one can form a very good picture of some leader who died 200 years ago because the documents have been read and checked so many times by so many different people? If you agree with that, then you and i will not know the real story of the leader you so vehemently defend (probably the cultural revolution was a good thing and the pictures of fallen leaders like Luo Ruiqing were photoshopped fakes) because it will take another 165 years before it happens.
But until then, all i ask is for you to help me realise how all those fallen leaders (the capitalist roaders) were actually photoshopped being tortured in public. If they truly were tortured like that (in nineteen-"$#%ing-sixty-nine and onwards), i'm sure that's the system everyone in this forum would like to live in.
No one gets censored here unless they break the forum rules. That's why SE is so much better than a certain other forum I won't mention the name of. But with that said, as a poster, I'm not afraid to criticise another when they're being ridiculous.
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