A biography that penetrates Mao's rhetoric and infamous self-will to distil an intimate portrait of a man as withdrawn and mysterious as the emperors he disdained.
From humble origins in the provinces, Mao Zedong rose to absolute power, unifying with an iron fist a vast country torn apart by years of weak leadership, foreign imperialism and war. In this sharply drawn account Jonathan Spence, award-winning historian and author of acclaimed books about the old and the new China, brings to life this modern day emperor and the tumultuous era that he did so much to shape. He presents Mao as a 'Lord of Misrule', who deliberately turned upside-down the traditional hierachies of Chinese society. Spence captures Mao in all his paradoxical grandeur and sheds light on the radical transformation he unleashed that still reverberates in China today.
Balanced, reliable and drawing on the most up-to-date research ... Spence eschews any overall judgement. He lets the facts speak for themselves and they are extraordinary enough' - LITERARY REVIEW
One of the greatest historians of China.