The Private Life of Chairman Mao

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Random House Publishing Group, Jun 22, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 736 pages
2 Reviews
From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death 22 years later. Dr. Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician. For most of these years, Mao was in excellent health; thus he and the doctor had time to discuss political and personal matters. Dr. Li recorded many of these conversations in his diaries, as well as in his memory. In this book, Dr. Li vividly reconstructs his extraordinary time with Chairman Mao. 

NOTE: This edition does not include a photo insert.

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Chairman Mao from his physicians standpoint

User Review  - drbarks -

As a physician and a political scientist I found this book to be extremely enlightening. It is written by Maos own personal doctor and gives us a never before seen glimpse into the political intrigue ... Read full review

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A fascinating look at Mao's private life and what it was like to interact with this powerful and manipulative man. The weakest part of the book is that it is based on Li's free recall of situations which, given the gap between when they happened and when the book was written, almost certainly unfolded differently from his descriptions. However, the overall themes discussed in Mao's behaviour and how he treated people are so sustained, it is more than reasonable to assume that even if specific events were different, the overall pattern was the same. Li's transition from devoted worshipper to disgusted, fearful critic is fascinating to read, as were his takes on the political infighting within the upper eschelons of Communist China. In the process of reading through this thick-but-quick book, you get the added bonus of the history of China during a period of tremendous change. Quite recommended. 


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