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Mao Zedong: A Life from Beginning to End

Narrated by: Sean Tivenan
Length: 1 hr and 1 min

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For a champion of the poor, Mao Zedong was born to a wealthy aristocratic family in Shaoshan, Hunan, China. As an adolescent, he once had to defend his father’s farm during a famine from starving peasants who wished to seize his father's land and steal his grain. This same Mao would later promote a policy of land reform that would give those peasants the green light to violently overthrow the rich land owners all over the Chinese countryside.

Inside you will hear about....

  • Where revolution was made
  • Mao comes into his own
  • Mao the pragmatist
  • From Nanking to Pearl Harbor
  • Consolidating power
  • Mao’s stranglehold
  • Mao loses face
  • And much more!

Mao Zedong was a Marxist revolutionary wishing to overthrow regimes he viewed as imperialist, and yet Mao, often referred to as the Red Emperor, behaved much like totalitarian emperors of China’s medieval past. Mao was a man of intriguing contradiction. This audiobook takes the time to explore them all.

©2017 Hourly History (P)2017 Hourly History

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  • KM
  • 14-12-18

An understated / careless summary

To me this was not at all a clear overview of the life of the world champion of mass death. Every estimate I've read or heard has put the number of deaths Mao was responsible for at between 40 and 70 million. However this book dances around that pretty central fact. No where does the reader get the picture on that scale! Only near the end in a comment questioning the imagery of Nixon shaking Mao's hand does it address this at all, and even then in a kind of off hand comment about the US President shaking the hand of a man responsible for the death of "millions". At times the writer even made comments that minimized Mao's responsibility for mass killing ... saying Mao didn't "explicitly approve of these things, though he didn't speak out against them"! The same could be said of Hitler in regards to most if not all of the organization and execution of the Holocaust! And those comments, if made, would be equally idiotic. Some of the facts and phrasing was a bit sloppy as well. The atomic bombs were not dropped in 1942, as the writer and everyone else should know. And whether or not Mao was exaggerating about how crowded he was in bed at a point when he was young does not "Remain to be seen" ... if so, when might we see, and who cares to see? I bought several dozen of these 1 hour history books on sale recently, I really hope the rest of them are more carefully written, but this does not bode well ...