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Michael Lynch presents an engaging and thorough account of Mao's life and politics, making use of a wealth of primary and secondary sources. He locates Maoism in the broader context of twentieth century Chinese history, discussing the development of the Chinese Communist Party, the creation of the People's Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution, and the part played by Mao in the Cold War. Details of Mao's controversial private life as well as his political and philosophical thought add to this diverse picture of the influential leader. This well-written biography will be essential reading to anyone interested in twentieth century China and its most memorable figure.