By Timothy Cheek
Mao Zedong's political profession spanned greater than part a century. the guidelines he championed remodeled one of many biggest countries on the earth and encouraged progressive activities internationally. Even this day Mao lives on in China, the place he's seemed through many as a near-mythical determine, and within the West, the place a burgeoning literature keeps to discuss his reminiscence. during this e-book, top students from assorted generations and around the globe supply a serious evaluate of the lifestyles and legacy of China's most renowned - a few might say notorious - son. within the first part, chapters discover the historic and political context of Mao's emergence as a tender guy and progressive within the early 20th century. via this era it really is attainable to check the character of Mao's ideology in its purest shape and to determine why it used to be appealing to such a lot of. This part additionally chronicles the most occasions of his lifestyles and person features of that existence: his key relationships with allies and foes, his fans and his public personality, his philosophy, and his courting with girls. within the ultimate half, chapters debate the optimistic and dangers of his legacy; in China Mao has develop into a metaphor for the guarantees and betrayals of the 20th century, in constructing international locations he is still a beacon of innovative wish for a few, and within the West Mao is still the replicate of our hopes and fears. The e-book brings the scholarship on Mao modern, and its substitute views equip readers to evaluate for themselves the character of this mercurial determine and his value in sleek chinese language heritage.
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Additional resources for A Critical Introduction to Mao
34 22 Timothy Cheek the hagiographic, some of the newer books in the past few years have given more complexity and even shown a bit of Mao’s darker side (see Chapter 11). While popular books are presented as scholarship, the formal worlds of party ideological study and of academic research are largely separate from this popular scholarship. The CCP maintains tight control over the sources of information on Mao, from Party Archives to the oddly named Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (Bianyiju) that maintains privileged access to the original documents by and about Mao.
Not all popular-culture Maos are apolitical. Among the huge underclass of migrant workers in China – now generally estimated to be around 150 million people – Mao stands as a contrasting example with the current leadership. In popular ditties and graffiti, Mao is lionized as the advocate for the landless poor or contrasted positively with the corruption of the current party leadership – as the street ditty quoted at the start of this chapter indicates. The uses of Mao’s image and legacy just reviewed are public, sometimes collective, and usually political meanings of Mao found in China today.
When he died, it was a respected (or feared) nation on the world scene – a nuclear power with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and able to feed its huge population and run a modern economy. The price of this success had been high, and the credit for it belongs to thousands of hardworking Chinese, not simply to Mao. Yet Mao has come to represent the noble goals, the grand achievements, and the terrible failures of China in the twentieth century. Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, Mao’s Last Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006).
A Critical Introduction to Mao by Timothy Cheek