Mao: The Unknown Story  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Mao: The Unknown Story is a 2005 biography of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong (1893–1976) written by the wife and husband team of writer Jung Chang and historian Jon Halliday, who depict Mao as being responsible for more deaths in peacetime than Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.

In conducting their research for the book over the course of a decade, the authors interviewed hundreds of people who were close to Mao Zedong at some point in his life, used recently published memoirs from Chinese political figures, and explored newly opened archives in China and Russia. Chang herself lived through the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, which she described in her earlier book, Wild Swans (1991).

The book quickly became a best-seller in Europe and North America and received overwhelming praise from reviews in national newspapers. Academic reviews from China specialists were, on the whole, mostly critical.

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