Jonathan Spence´S Mao Zedong Essay

2021 words - 8 pages

Mao Zedong was a very influential man in history. He forever changed the face of Chinese politics and life as a whole. His communist views and efforts to modernize China still resonate in the country today. Jonathan Spence’s book titled Mao Zedong is a biography of the great Chinese leader. Spence aims to show how Mao evolved from a poor child in a small rural village, to the leader of a communist nation. The biography is an amazing story of a person’s self determination and the predictability of human nature. The book depicts how a persuasive voice can shape the minds of millions and of people. It also shows the power and strength that a movement in history can make. This biography tells an important part of world history-the communist takeover of China.
Jonathan Spence tells his readers of how Mao Zedong was a remarkable man to say the very least. He grew up a poor farm boy from a small rural town in Shaoshan, China. Mao was originally fated to be a farmer just as his father was. It was by chance that his young wife passed away and he was permitted to continue his education which he valued so greatly. Mao matured in a China that was undergoing a threat from foreign businesses and an unruly class of young people who wanted modernization. Throughout his school years and beyond Mao watched as the nation he lived in continued to change with the immense number of youth who began to westernize. Yet in classes he learned classical Chinese literature, poems, and history. Mao also attained a thorough knowledge of the modern and Western world. This great struggle between modern and classical Chinese is what can be attributed to most of the unrest in China during this time period. His education, determination and infectious personality are what elevated Mao to the status that he was able to reach. Though this greatly declined in Mao’s later years, in the beginning he was looked to by his people as the leader of the poor. He greatly wanted equality for the masses. Spence tells the tale of a great leader who soon grew crazy with power.
Mao’s perception of himself constantly changed as with anyone with age. Mao though came from a time of conflicting ideas for what was best for his struggling country. As a student he was haunted with the idea of Westernization. He attended a radical school which taught both classics and Western classes. These two subjects greatly conflicted with each other though and lead to confusion of the young man. Mao came from the world outside of the classroom, where he was a poor farmer with little knowledge of the outside world. At this time the biography says that he was not yet ready for the radicalism his teachers preached but instead still considered himself a monarchist (Spence 9). It seems fitting today that at this time Mao would believe in one man ruling over millions of people for the better of the people. At this time it is apparent Mao still believed himself to be farmer still, but with an education. He wanted what...

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