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Mao: the Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Published by Jonathan Cape in 2005

Based on a decade of research and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before – and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him – this is the most authoritative life of Mao ever written. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology; his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back to 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. After Mao conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the deaths of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history. In all, well over 70 million Chinese perished under Mao's rule – in peacetime.

Combining meticulous research with the story-telling style of Wild Swans, this biography offers a harrowing portrait of Mao's ruthless accumulation of power through the exercise of terror: his first victims were the peasants, then the intellectuals and, finally, the inner circle of his own advisors. This is an entirely fresh look at Mao in both content and approach.

Jung Chang’s Wild Swans was the biggest grossing non-fiction paperback in publishing history It sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was translated into 30 languages.

'A great and ghastly read.' The Sunday Times

‘A magisterial work... This magnificent biography methodically demolishes every pillar of Mao's claim to sympathy or legitimacy... A triumph.’
New York Times Book Review

‘What Chang and Halliday have done is immense and surpasses, as a biography, all that has gone before.’ Jonathan Mirsky, Independent

‘Chang and Halliday cast new and revealing light on nearly every episode in Mao’s tumultuous life. ….Magnificent…..A stupendous work…’ Michael Yahuda, Guardian

Also by Jung Chang
Wild Swans: three daughters of China

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