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Mao: the too familiar story


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Ross, K 2006 , 'Mao: the too familiar story', paper presented at the The Fortieth Anniversary: Rethinking the Genealogy and Legacy of the Cultural Revolution, 9-10 June 2006, Hong Kong.

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Mao, the Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday is the latest and most dangerous of the spate of Mao biographies that have appeared over the last 10 years. This massive book, which appeared in 2005 in English and is yet to be published in Chinese, has caused much controversy amongst China scholars. Responses have ranged from outright dismissal to cautious or conditional approval. A number of journals have already published assessments of the claims made by Halliday and Chang and more are on the way. Yet these criticisms seem to me to be missing the mark. Scholarly debate seems to be having little effect on public opinion. The western media have been overwhelmingly supportive of Mao the Unknown Story. And the book is heading to best-seller status. This paper examines the genre of the book and uses sources from the field of critical biography to conclude that Mao: the Unknown Story is a misleading and dangerous text.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Ross, K
Keywords: China Cultural Revolution Mao Zedong Mao: the Unknown Story Jung Chang Jon Halliday Critical biography
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