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More on Mao

December 20, 2010

I was impressed by Jung Chang’s book when I read it in 2005 – the voluminous detail, the barely-suppressed anger that informs the whole work, the anecdotes that shed light on 20th century Chinese history. I was reminded of her achievement when I recently came across a quote from Pearl Buck about the Chinese experience in the century : “the sediment of suffering.” That was to me the essence of Jung Chang’s story – how much suffering was exacted from the Chinese people 1920 to 1975.

Before her large, harrowing book on Mao, Jung Chang was known as the author of Wild Swans, a story of the Cultural Revolution. I strongly recommended her Mao book in my book My Reading Life and even though the Mao indictment is getting harsher as more research emerges from historians ( see below ) her heroic undertaking deserves your attention.

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