[First published on November 22, 2005] On Chang and Halloway’s biography of Mao I wrote about yesterday, it is an educational experience to read the 38 reviews of the book on Amazon.com. Some surely are by Mainland Chinese, and probably planted by the CCP. But those that are not show the depth of the Mao myth among Westerners and, many of them forgetting about Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Ill, and Saddam Hussein, the inability to believe that any ruler could be so evil. To give you a taste of this, I include one such one-star (the lowest rating) review below. It is not a parody:
This pure unadulterated piece of garbage is so unbelievably out-of-this-world in portraying the late Chinese Communist Leader as Lucifer incarnate becomes so so boring,and tedious, I (and along with other literary friends) had to just discontinue reading the book and pick something else to read far far more substantial.
The author, who probably did not get a job in a Chinese take-away in London decided to write a book about Mao in connivance with her old demented husband (who probably married her out of pity and desperation when she was still a boat person) and the end result is a littany of lies whose main basis is her fertile imagination and hate for Chairman Mao. Their pens were already dipped in poison during conception of the book that one has to wonder why her literary sources ran a gamut of hundreds of pages that one can already write another book with it!
The author’s style is extremely boring, filled with graphic descriptions of the “sufferings” and evilness of Mao , supremely exaggerated. And she blames the old man for the death of practically every Chinese individual (even those who died of natural causes or illnesses or poverty were included in her statistics.) It is sensationalistic from page 1. This person’s hate for Mao is so intense and personal, the book was written by someone with an axe to grind.
The problem with some boat people is that when they have resources when the times comes, they seize the opportunity to write a book and lace it with personal agenda that they think they can claim fame from the foreign media.No way Jung chang! There’s an opening for a cleaning post in the Chinese Embassy, this job is more suitable for you!
I myself is not a fan of Mao, I dont even know anything about him thats why I bought this book! However, Mao is nothing in this book except being described as a murderer and a devil. I’m so glad that this book is much disliked by many and I’m glad that a lot of Chinese people have spoken up and defended their old leader.
Avoid this garbage! </blockquote>
Chang was not one of the “boat people,” that is, one of those who fled from Vietnam in boats during the 70s and 80s. She was born and raised in China, and as a young woman traveled on a fellowship to the reviewer’s home country of Britain, where she now lives with her husband and co-author. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall were they to meet.