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The Private Life of Chairman Mao

The Private Life of Chairman Mao - Li Zhisui Thirty-something years after Chairman Mao's death, his personal physician breaks doctor-patient confidentiality to tell us what we mostly suspected to begin with: that Mao was crazy six ways from Sunday. The text is interesting, of course, and has historical value, coming from an original source, but lacks pizazz. At times, it reads like a laundry list of the same old cliche stuff that everybody does when they become an isolated, untouchable, megalomaniacal dictator of China: 1) Swim in the Yalu River.2) Sleep around with starlets from "The Peoples' Cultural Dance Troupe". 3) Sleep around with little boys from "The Peoples' Cultural Dance Troupe".4) Force your enemies to break rocks in a quarry so you can build an insanely large hydroelectric powerplant.5) Never brush your teeth.6) Intimidate your doctors to make sure they take good care of you.7) Force your FRIENDS to break rocks in a quarry so you can build aninsanely large hydroelectric powerplant. (how embarrassing... what a pseudo-Soviet poser)8) Sit around ruminating about all the people who want to kill you.9) Starve everybody.10) Impress fellow dictators with your insanely large hydroelectric powerplant. (Kim Il Sung just about shit a brick!)I would have liked this book better if Li Zhi-Sui would have shared with us a little more of how all this crazyness made him feel. It seems clear he didn't like Mao too much, or he wouldn't have written all this, but he's too reserved, like he's giving a deposition rather than telling his personal story.