Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer that is known for her award-winning book, Wild Swans. After having several jobs at a young age, Jung Chang became an English-language student, and an assistant lecturer at Sichuan University. In 1978, Chang left China for Britain, where the University of York awarded her a scholarship. At the university, she acquired a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1982. Interestingly, Chang was the first person from the People’s Republic of China to obtain a doctorate from a British university. Jung Chang’s husband, Jon Halliday, is the collaborating author of the biography. He is an Irish historian that focuses on the history of modern Asia. Halliday was a former Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London. He had written, and edited his eight previous books. Currently, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday reside in Notting Hill, West London.
The biography focused on Mao Zedong, who was China’s revolutionary, yet erratic leader. The authors portrayed Mao Zedong as a merciless leader that was behind countless committed crimes in China. Under his rule, many people referred to him as Chairman Mao. The chairman left an enormous impact on the modern day China. However, Mao’s immoral philosophy, and hunger for absolute power led to a corrupted government under his rule. The brutality committed by Mao Zedong was heavily emphasized throughout the biography.
Jung Chang and Jon Halliday depicted Mao Zedong’s influence on modern China as the worst role model to follow. Based on the evidence, the authors presented the chairman’s involvement in breaking many human rights. One of the events was when Chairman Mao forced most of China’s population into labor. As it was stated in the biography, “Close...
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...ourageous to include Mao’s assassinations and maltreatment of people. Based on the crimes, I noted that Chairman Mao feared defeat because killing his targets would lead him closer to control over China. The authors had lots of evidence to support, which made me feel part of this cruel story. Also, the background details made some stories extremely exaggerated.
The biography of Mao Zedong was somewhat a success and failure. The book sometimes felt like a textbook since it talked specifically a lot about a particular event. However, the authors provided lots of stories atbout Mao’s achievements and failures. I would recommend the biography to those that are interested in learning about the beginnings of People’s Republic of China, and the mastermind behind all the crimes.
Chang J. and Halliday J. Mao: The Unknown Story. New York: Knopf, 2005. Print.