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For most of his life, our knowledge of Mao Zedong (1893-1976) was shrouded by Chinese secrecy and ideological claims and counter-claims. Now the most authoritative biography yet of Chairman Mao arrives via Russia. The recent release of Soviet era archives enabled China expert Steven Levine (Anvil of Victory) and Russian-émigré historian Alexander Pantsov (The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolutions, 1919-1927) to reconstruct the life, or should we say, the lives of this resilient, diabolical leader. Mao: The Real Story plots the Communist leader's bloody path to power, his sudden outburst of utopianism in the misbegotten "Great Leap Forward," his willful subordination to Stalin and his battles with Khrushchev and other Russian leaders. A breakthrough biography of a major historical figure.