Admittedly, I’m attracted to historical biographies. Perhaps it’s an inherent sense of curiosity combined with obligation to spend at least some measure of time reading the works of dedicated authors who in rare instances spent not merely years, but decades conducting extensive research and ultimately giving new life to people and subjects we thought we already knew well, but may have misunderstood.
Such is the definitely the case with one of my favorite books, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, the 1974 Pulitzer Prize winner for non-fiction. Such is the case for any of the four other Robert A. Caro books on Lyndon B. Johnson, clearly the most thorough research and writing exercise ever conducted on a U.S President by one man. Such is also the case with John Adams by David McCullough, arguably our most noted historian. I could go on and on.
Such is also the case with “Mao: The Untold Story,” written by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. A historical watershed that began way back in 1986 ultimately came to fruition a few years back with this long-awaited release, a predictbly controversial narrative and what’s been called the most definitive biography ever written on one of the most ruthless, yet most powerful people in history. His story and the era when he ruled begs for our attention.
Involuntarily, the People’s Republic of China provides pundits with the most perplexing historical, political, economic, social, environmental, and ethical quandary of modern times.
Bulging at its borders with a nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, what was once a sleeping giant is fully awaken and now prepares itself to rumble through the rest of the global domicile in search of what it wants and needs to survive and prosper. Yes, this is a scary day that’s now only in its earliest morning phase. What China demands to satisfy its insatiable appetite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — and the potentially devastating environmental havoc the pursuit of such longings are expected to wreak on the remainder of the world’s population — is likely to be the most crucial international crisis of the 21st Century. READ MORE HERE
Yet for all the “Great Leap(s) Forward” China has made towards what most would agree is an inevitable emergence as a global superpower, the nation remains a conundrum of internal conflicts. Considerable disharmoney stems from this coveted trading partner tattoed with a very dark past, which it still has failed to either address or rectify. It’s a bloody past rife with deliberate, fully intentional state-sanctioned periods of mass murder and genocide which to this day remain almost beyond our comprehension by sheer numbers and misery. Just how wicked China’s (relatively recent) past has been is finally beginining to leak out — as more archives open up, people begin to speak out, research is conducted, and books are written which ultimately become history’s verdict. Finally, the world is becoming not just fully aware of the human devastation that took place not too very long ago, it also now knowingly deals face to face with many of the monsters and descendents of those who actually made it happen, and with such morbid efficiency.