This book is long, but it feels even longer as you're reading it. The style is pedestrian, heavy on clichés, and the pages are thick with unfamiliar names. Much of the action consists of plottingwhether among obscure factions or among the leaders of world Communismthat is often brutal in outcome but tedious to follow. Nevertheless, this biography of the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong is one of the most important books of the past year, an indispensable addition to our understanding of 20th-century totalitarianism.
There have been other accounts of Mao's life and the terrible suffering over which he presided, but nothing to match this portrait in range, depth, or moral intensity. The authors don't pretend to be neutral scholars, and parts of the indictment they assemble are no doubt flawed, but most readerswhatever their presuppositionswill finish the book with the sense that the overall judgment of Mao and his policies has been well supported.
At a time when Christianity in China is growing at an astonishing pace, even as China's global role becomes more prominent, this book is an essential primer to grasp the context of current events.
Copyright © 2006 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Mao and Twentieth Century Totalitarianism
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.