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The Private Life of Chairman Mao

REVIEW The Private Life of Chairman Mao

From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death 22 years later Dr Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician For most of these years Ma. Li Zhisui served as a personal physician to Mao Zedong for twenty two years And yet he doesn’t have much to say in his 700 odd page memoir that could be considered worthwhileZhisui in fact warns the reader in the introduction about his political naivety so there's that And it also doesn’t help that he wrote this memoir entirely by recollecting the incidents from memory Zhisui actually comes off as a reluctant memoirist which I consider unforgivably oxymoronic For example he finds sex to be a really offensive subject and so he shies away from it as much as he can at every turn He says that he was never interested in politics but then he rants endlessly about the piddling conflicts perennially happening between Mao’s bodyguards and nurses What he should have said – for accuracy’s sake was that he was not interested in state politics He was all for inconseuential office politics In other words he was apathetic to things that mattered but not to those that did not which makes this book as interesting as a 700 page long doctor’s prescription where he dedicates than half of the pages to write about men of Mao’s inner security circle and their petty politics to earn Mao’s favor or in most cases to avoid his wrath Though he begins the first chapter interestingly enough with Mao’s death Zhisui candidly talks about his lack of knowledge about the embalming process and how due to that at one time Mao’s face becomes bloated to almost double its size due to the injection of excessive embalming fluid At the least that is one little interesting tidbit you won’t find anywhere else except in Zhisui’s book What little I did learn from this book was that Mao was some sort of “half nudist” he seldom wore enough clothes who never washed never brushed his teeth Zhisui used to remove layers of plaue from his teeth twice a year or left his bed for a considerable amount of time He also liked to seduce young and innocent girls and knowingly used to infect them with a venereal disease he carried He only used to take sponge baths occasionally Only time he ever got himself immersed fully in water was when he decided to swim in a river for hours on end to show his “manliness” no wonder the river dolphins went extinct But what I consider his biggest mistake is that he missed a really good opportunity to provide us a peek into the mind of one of the worst dictators the world has ever seen You see Mao liked Li And so he used to talk with Li freuently from midnight till dawn Only if Zhisui would have been kind enough to tell us what actually they talked about Not once does he feels inclined enough to recount any of the countless conversations he had had with Mao He would just say something like “We talked till dawn and then I returned to my whatever” This book should be re titled “The Petty Internal Politics of Chairman Mao’s Bodyguards”


O was in excellent health; thus he and the doctor had time to discuss political and personal matters Dr Li recorded many of these co. I borrowed this book from a hotel library in Playa del Carmen last summer I just finished it today I relished it I see so many of the behaviors described here reenacted in our current cultural wars especially among my liberal brethren The same obsession with ideological purity the same appetite for purges for branding as a counterrevolutionary whoever does not toe the line The word has changed though and been substituted by many others I'll leave it to you kind reader to figure out which ones I meanMao like Fidel like Hitler like Franco like Mussolini was a big child coddled by childish and frightened masses And as incompetent self indulgent megalomaniac and arrogant as the rest of them Dr Zhisui narrates the gradually unfolding nightmare of a 1984'ish totalitarian dystopia where dissent in deed word and thought was proscribed and where friendships casual support and tenuous social ties were minutely tallied and recorded to better recompense or punish members of the party A scenario of crippling claustrophobia that reached its climax during the hysterical Cultural RevolutionLady Macbeth is a nun in a convent compared to the stifling ambitious venomous Jiang ing a character that will stay with me against my will like one of those terrible songs that play in a loop in your brain and slowly drive you insaneNext up Jung Chang's Mao The Untold Story

Li Zhisui Ø 1 DOWNLOAD

Nversations in his diaries as well as in his memory In this book Dr Li vividly reconstructs his extraordinary time with Chairman Mao. This book is flawed in many respects First its author is an admitted naif as re politics history psychology etc Although he delves into such perspectives he doesn't get much beyond the surface Second as he also admits his class background was bourgeois his exposure to the lives of ordinary Chinese only coming late in his career Third he only entered the scene late after the revolution Fourth having burned his original notes his memoir is based on memoryAll of those considerations notwithstanding I found this lengthy account a page turner While only skimming the major events of the period of the late forties to the mid seventies it did serve as a welcome refresher The medical details are of course invaluable given the author's expertise and privileged position The personal details about the Chinese leadership and the politics of their court were intriguing The whole thing came across for me at least as a meditation about how power can corruptAlthough publicity for this book seems to emphasize Mao's sex life Dr Li really doesn't offer any purient detail He found it offensive than interesting

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