Mao Zedong: A Political and Intellectual Portrait
December 2006, Polity
From his role as leader of a communist revolution in a war-torn and largely rural country to the disasters of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the relationship between Mao's ideas and his political action is highly disputed. With unparalleled authority, Meisner shows how Mao's unique sinification of Marxism provides the key to looking at this extraordinary political career. The first part of the book is devoted to Mao's revolutionary leadership before 1949, in particular the influence of the liberal and anarchist ideas of the May Fourth era, his discovery of Marxism, Leninism and his conviction that peasants held the potential for revolution. In the second part, Meisner analyses Mao's early successes as a nationalist unifier and modernizer, the failure of his socialism and his eventual transformation into a tyrant.
A Note on Chinese Names.
1. Youth (1893-1921).
2. Communism and Marxism.
3. Peasant Revolution.
4. Nationalism and Social Revolution, 1935-49.
5. Mao Zedong in Power: Nationalism and Modernization (1949-57).
7. The Cultural Revolution and the Exhaustion of Maoism.
Epilogue: Progress and Tyranny, Marxism and Maoism.
Writings of Mao Zedong.
- Major new political biography of Mao, written by one of the world’s leading authorities on Chinese revolutionary politics
- Offers a clear and unbiased account of Mao's political and intellectual development
- Gives a detailed analysis of Mao's pre-revolutionary career and how he came to power
- Discusses his role in the failures of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution
- Considers Mao's huge legacy for China at the start of the twenty-first century
"Meisner is uniquely qualified by political commitment,
professional experience, and scholarly talent to produce this
important new biography of Mao. He offers a reasoned, indeed
regretful, Marxist analysis of Mao's role in the Chinese
revolution, acknowledging his successes but particularly seeking to
understand the roots of Maos dictatorship and the many tragedies
befell China under his sway. In this way, Meisner offers a useful
and compelling narrative that truly provides food for
Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia
"Meisner's updated assessment of Mao Zedong once again offers
the best available intellectual history of Mao's life and
Lee Feigon, University of Chicago