At the peak of its popularity, Mao's bible was the most printed book in the world. It attained the status of a sacred, holy text during the Cultural Revolution, and retains its place among western devotees.
Reading the essays brought together here, you would hardly realise that Mao was responsible for one of the biggest human catastrophes in recorded history. Launched by him in 1958, the Great Leap Forward cost upwards of 45 million human lives. “When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death,” Mao observed laconically. “It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”