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Mao: The Real Story

Mao: The Real Story - Alexander Pantsov, Steven I. Levine 784 page biography drawing heavily off newly released Russian sources, contains blow-by-blow accounts of the party's early years. Focus is on minute changes of political climate and intra-party politics rather than the famous Mao's physician's accounts of underage girls or whatnot (this book limited to noting that for years at a time, Mao spent most of his time with 17 and 18 year old girls, which isn't really 'underage').

Book is not an absolute must read but it does flow competently, and the story and academic distance is superior to Edgar Snow's [b:Red Star Over China|400393|Red Star over China The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism|Edgar Snow|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347446500s/400393.jpg|389815] and other single person, ax-to-grind works