Private Life Of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Maos Personal Physician

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Zhisui observed the workings of Mao's regime from his side. The continual nervousness of everyone associated with Mao is palpable. The manifestations of this stress on peoples lives is heartbreaking. I did struggle with the Chinese names of all the players, but this did not diminish my interest in the book. Besides the bodily details of Mao's poor hygiene he must have stank , poor testicle developement, supreme carrier of veneral diseases,Dr. Mao was a vorocious reader especially with regards to China's history.

Dr Li also provides symptoms but not diagnois of mental illness. As a mental health specialist of some longstanding time, I could not help if Mao did not have a bipolar illness which would help explain his hyper sexuality in more advanced years of his life, extreme narcissisam, disturbed moods, long periods of times of lying in bed which other long periods of times of little or no sleep. This would not excuse his sociolopathy. Much more could be mentioned but the book is over pgs long.

There is some repetition. Becker's account of the ravages of famine, the denial of famine's existence, the horrendous coverups, political intrigues, history of political upheavels of China during 20th century. See all reviews. See all customer images. Most recent customer reviews. Published 1 month ago. Published 7 months ago.

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Overall, however, anyone interested in modern Chinese history and in Mao Zedong himself should read this book. Thank you for using the catalog. The private life of Chairman Mao: Heads of state -- China -- Biography.


  1. The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhisui;
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  5. Summary Chairman Mao's personal physician and confidant for twenty two years, takes us for the first time into the Chinese dictator's very private world. The book was reviewed by The New York Times , which described it as "an extraordinarily intimate portrait" containing many details about Mao's time of rule and associations with other major figures in the government, but one that presented few new revelations about the political or diplomatic history of Maoist China.

    The review stated that though there may never be absolute corroboration of the book and its many anecdotes, its contents are supported by the numerous pictures of Li with Mao on his many trips, as well as the consistency of the details with the information known by specialists of Chinese history and politics. The book also highlighted the hypocritical, often decadent lifestyle Mao experienced, while enforcing strict political and secular restrictions, as well as harmful ideological changes on the population.

    The Private Life of Chairman Mao

    Criticized for being based on Li's memory and a recreation of his journals in the originals were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution out of fear for their possible impact on Li or his family , the review stated that despite this weakness there is "no obvious reason to doubt that Dr. Li is genuine and that his book represents a reasonable effort to record his experiences" and its credibility was enhanced for being edited and reviewed by scholars of Chinese history. The book was praised for probably being the best, or only source for information about larger Chinese political events, disputes within the Chinese high command, and Mao's private life and character.

    The review highlighted criticisms of Mao's indifference and lack of awareness of the general suffering within the general population of the country, his sexual excesses and intolerance to criticism or challenge, while cautioning against using the personal details of the book to draw general lessons on the nation and revolution.

    Writing for The Christian Science Monitor , reviewer Ann Tyson described Li's role as trapped dealing with a man he learned to despise, sacrificing his family life, professional goals, and personal convictions. Tyson also pointed out the threats made by Chinese authorities to confiscate his house upon learning he was writing a memoir, following through with their threat in Reviewing the book for the Daily News of Bowling Green, Kentucky , historian Robert Antony described it as an "intimate, candid account of one of the most powerful men in the modern world" and "a haunting tale of intrigue and debauchery in the court of Mao Zedong, as could only be told by a member of the inner circle" and described Li's journey from an idealized patriot who idolized Mao, to a critic disillusioned by Mao's hypocrisy and philandering.

    Several people have questioned the authenticity of the book. A statement protesting that many of the claims made in Li's book were false was issued soon after its publication, signed by people who had personally known or worked with Mao, including Wang Dongxing , Li Yinqiao and Ye Zilong. In , a Chinese language book was published in Hong Kong which at that time was independent from the People's Republic of China , entitled Lishi de Zhenshi: Testimony of the personnel who had worked with Mao Zedong.

    It was written by three people who had known Mao personally: They argued that Li did not only not know Mao very well, but that he presented an inaccurate picture of him in his book. Wu goes on to argue that whilst much of Li's memoir is devoted to talking about Mao in the period between and , Li was not his general practitioner during this period, and therefore would not have had access to the personal information that he claimed. They also criticise some of Li's claims regarding Mao's personal life, for instance challenging his assertion that Mao was sterile, in which they are supported by Professor Wu Jieping, who was another of Mao's medical care-givers.

    They theorise that Li had fabricated this story in order to explain why Mao did not have many illegitimate children with the many women that, Li controversially claimed, he had sexual intercourse with. Qi had been arrested and imprisoned at Mao's order in , subsequently spending the next eighteen years in prison.

    Despite his persecution at the hand of Mao however, Qi criticised Li's portrayal of the Chinese leader, claiming that "aside from his account of the support-the-left activities zhi zuo in which he [Li] personally participated, most of the Cultural Revolution part of his memoirs consists of stuff gleaned from newspapers, journals and other people's writings. To make Western readers believe that he had access to core secrets, Li fabricated scenarios, resulting in countless errors in his memoirs. Due to this and other reasons, Qi believed Li's claim that Mao had affairs was a lie.

    However, Qi was an unrepentant Maoist, and after prison he moved to Shanghai and continued to express support for Maoist doctrine.