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A Critical Introduction to Mao by Timothy Cheek

By Timothy Cheek

Mao Zedong's political occupation spanned greater than part a century. the information he championed reworked one of many biggest international locations on the earth and encouraged innovative events internationally. Even this day Mao lives on in China, the place he's appeared via many as a near-mythical determine, and within the West, the place a burgeoning literature maintains to discuss his reminiscence. during this ebook, top students from various generations and world wide supply a serious overview of the existence and legacy of China's most famed - a few might say notorious - son. within the first part, chapters discover the ancient 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 envision the character of Mao's ideology in its purest shape and to work out why it used to be appealing to such a lot of. This part additionally chronicles the most occasions of his lifestyles and person points of that existence: his key relationships with allies and foes, his fans and his public personality, his philosophy, and his courting with ladies. within the ultimate half, chapters debate the confident and hazards 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 continues to be a beacon of innovative wish for a few, and within the West Mao remains to be the reflect of our hopes and fears. The booklet brings the scholarship on Mao brand new, and its replacement 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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50 28 Timothy Cheek “represented” the summation of Sinified Marxism-Leninism and thus should reflect the consensus of the party leadership. That this editing relied most heavily on Mao’s voluntary acquiescence and that the process was highly distorted as early as 1960 did not weaken, in the minds of the party editors, the attempt to make official Mao works a “collective” enterprise. Indeed, both Mao himself and advisors from the Soviet Union were active in this process during the early 1950s when the authoritative Selected Works was compiled.

Indeed, Mao and the CCP stressed “democratic centralism” (minzhu jizhong) and were ruthless in suppressing dissidents, such as the left-wing intellectuals associated with the writer Ding Ling and theorist Wang Shiwei who dared to question Mao and CCP practice from an independent Marxist (and feminist) stand in 1942. ” The lessons of this coordinated but flexible organizing have been applied to social movements elsewhere, from the Vietcong in Vietnam, to Che Guevara in Latin America, to Naxalite activists in Nepal (see Chapter 12).

As Charles Hayford shows in Chapter 13, popular Western images derive from themes in films such as The Good Earth (based on Pearl S. Buck’s novel) but have been driven by journalists – professionals who answer to media masters chasing the ever-elusive “top story” of the day. Edgar Snow was one such journalist, and his successors on the “China beat” have brought vivid images of Mao and China to newspapers and magazines in Western countries. Understandably, those stories have been driven by the concerns of the reading publics of The New York Times, The Guardian, or Le Monde more than by concerns of historical balance or complex contexts.

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