Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book - Mao: The Unknown Story

We love politics! Human pack dynamics are so complicated except at pivotal moments when the opposition chooses to roll over en masse and expose its soft boobies to the pack leader (Democrats to George W. Bush in 2001 and Republicans to President Obama in 2008). While humans are asserting dominance on a small scale every day, it's not often we get to witness it on a grand scale. We are very glad, by the way, that our television news program didn't show Janet Napolitano exposing her boobies in submission to the President after failing to catch the underwear bomber.

Our Fearless Chief of Homeland Security

A Chow Chow we have been courting at the dog park told us a story of a Chinese pack leader who was able to exert dominance over hundreds of millions of people for decades. It was with great interest that we devoured Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.

This exhaustively researched book attacks many of the myths perpetuated by the Chinese Communist Party about its genesis, Mao, and its concern for the peasant. Throughout the text, Mao emerges as monster - concerned with absolutely nothing other than extending his personal sphere of power. He used terror liberally to beat an entire nation into submission. Mao then leveraged this submission to starve tens of millions of Chinese peasants and attempted to purchase international political influence with their food. In fact, the Chinese Communist Party only survived, and took power, because of Stalin's influence and Mao behaved as if he suffered from an inferiority complex the balance of his life. He wasted billions of dollars trying to drive a wedge between the USSR and its satellite states so he could assume power. We assume, had Mao grown up in Idaho, he would have driven a very large truck.

Mao's policies were often ineffective and laden with waste - like his helicopters that not even Pol Pot would accept because of their inability to fly. Mao was also very eccentric (i.e. crazy). He never once took a bath during his reign, preferring instead to be wiped down with towels by his servants, and once declared sparrows as one of the nations 'four pests' and ordered all sparrows destroyed. His anti-sparrow policy was so effective, that he later had to import sparrows from the USSR to reverse adverse ecological effects. We found ourselves drooling at the thought of a world without birds - it was the only Mao policy that we found ourselves in wholehearted agreeance with.

If you have the stomach for a long book that, at times, can be dry - we recommend Mao: The Unknown Story. We gained an appreciation for the incredible resilience of the Chinese people, a greater understanding of the history of a nation that has finally become - after abandoning 'Mao tse-tsung thought' - a superpower, and saw a glimpse into Asian history more broadly. this is the best book we have read in a long time.

We also hope this will help us lure a Chow Chow stud back home from the dog park - what a breed!

The Chow Chow -- fearless and cute


Anonymous said...

Simply brilliant: "We assume, had Mao grown up in Idaho, he would have driven a very large truck."

Anonymous said...

If Mao grew up in Idaho he would lead a group of anarchist skinheads, The Never Setting Red Sons. His punk garage band, The Cultural Revolution, would play at the Little Red Book Bar and Grill. Anger from his economic failure would be aimed at the liberal bourgeois elite who he would try to hit with his oversized domestic truck that rarely worked. And of course you could be a member of his gaggle of losers as long as you did not threated the power structure. And finally, Skinhead Chairman Mao, would be living a total fabricated life as a closet Young Republican.