If you've read Jung Chang's 'Wild Swans' then you might be interested in 'Mao: The Unknown Story'. Co-written by Chang, it is a thorough, detailed account of the Chinese dictator from birth to death. Its strength lies in a writing style that is objectively told and yet remains moving. Sometimes the horrors of Mao's reign become too much and you simply have to put the book down, but this is in no way Chang's fault, it simply reveals the true extent of the atrocities that occured. This is an innovative and horrifying insight to a China that has only recently come into the public eye.
I absolutely loved this book, and in fact felt DEPRESSED when I finally finished it! Through the story of three generations of women - grandmother, mother and daughter - Wild Swans tells the history of 20th century China, from the Manchu Empire, to Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution. This is a fascinating read - touching, humorous and dreadfully sad in parts, written beautifully, and leaves you wishing you could read it all over again.
Long. Too long. And too slow.
I'm sorry to say that I didn't really gel with any of the characters and found the relentless weight of this tome too much to bear. Several hundred pages in with many many more to go I eventually tossed this aside in favour of something, well, shorter.