Revolutionary and ruler, Marxist and nationalist, liberator anddespot, Mao Zedong takes a place among the iconic leaders of thetwentieth century. In this book, Maurice Meisner offers a balancedportrait of the man who defined modern China.
From his role as leader of a communist revolution in a war-tornand largely rural country to the disasters of the Great LeapForward and the Cultural Revolution, the relationship between Mao'sideas and his political action is highly disputed. Withunparalleled authority, Meisner shows how Mao's unique sinificationof Marxism provides the key to looking at this extraordinarypolitical career. The first part of the book is devoted to Mao'srevolutionary leadership before 1949, in particular the influenceof the liberal and anarchist ideas of the May Fourth era, hisdiscovery of Marxism, Leninism and his conviction that peasantsheld the potential for revolution. In the second part, Meisneranalyses Mao's early successes as a nationalist unifier andmodernizer, the failure of his socialism and his eventualtransformation into a tyrant.
About the Author
Maurice Meisner is Harvey Goldberg Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Table of Contents
A Note on Chinese Names.
1. Youth (1893-1921).
2. Communism and Marxism.
3. Peasant Revolution.
4. Nationalism and Social Revolution, 1935-49.
5. Mao Zedong in Power: Nationalism and Modernization(1949-57).
7. The Cultural Revolution and the Exhaustion of Maoism.
Epilogue: Progress and Tyranny, Marxism and Maoism.
Writings of Mao Zedong.
What People are Saying About This
“A stimulating argument, useful for both novices and established scholars.”
"Meisner is uniquely qualified by political commitment, professional experience, and scholarly talent to produce this important new biography of Mao. He offers a reasoned, indeed regretful, Marxist analysis of Mao's role in the Chinese revolution, acknowledging his successes but particularly seeking to understand the roots of Maos dictatorship and the many tragedies befell China under his sway. In this way, Meisner offers a useful and compelling narrative that truly provides food for thought."
Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia
"Meisner's updated assessment of Mao Zedong once again offers the best available intellectual history of Mao's life and deeds."
Lee Feigon, University of Chicago