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Mao: the Unknown Story  by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

“Mao: the Unknown Story” by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Random House 2005

When I watched the second Addams Family movie, I knew there’d be a “blockbuster biography” of Mao coming soon. The key scene comes as the Addams are trying to decide what to name their baby. Rejecting other, overexposed dictators like Stalin and Hitler, they pick “Mao.”

That was it, the writing on the sten-gazeta: time for some enterprising literary entrepreneur to grind out a big fat book showing us all what a monster the Great Helmsman really was.

Even so, it’s a shock to see how mechanically Jung Chang and her husband, Jon Halliday, have carried out their assignment — and how eagerly the reviewers have endorsed the product. Every critic from Santa Barbara to Glasgow has joined the “Down with Mao!” chant, waving this big green book in an elbow-destroying parody of the Red Guards who used to whack capitalist roaders with Mao’s little red one. (more…)

July 1st, 2005 | Comments (1)