An American Who Lived the History of Mao’s Rise and Fall – Christian Science Monitor

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From Christian Science Monitor:

“I never meant to stay in China…. I never even meant to go to China.” The contradiction defines Sidney Rittenberg‘s life and world. Mr. Rittenberg knows China’s epic Communist revolution intimately, not as a witness, but a participant – often on the wrong side of history.

Not many people can still close their eyes and recall playing cards and folk dancing with , Zhou Enlai, and the young rebels in the bean-oil lit caves of Yanan. But Rittenberg can.

Rittenberg’s views on Mao remain complex: Mao “genuinely believed he was doing good.” Mao was “definitely a genius and a brilliant writer,” he says. Mao’s essay “On Protracted War,” for example, tells exactly how Japan’s military would crumble. Yet Mao was despotic, “a peasant boy who grew up in a remote village, with a narrow education [who] never lost the capacity for the envy and revenge of his childhood.” [Full Text]

– See also the New York Times’ A Long March From Maoism to Microsoft

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