Black and white photograph of Mao Zedong with raised arm.

Mao Zedong

(1893 - 1976)

Mao Zedong counted among his heroes the Qin emperor Shihuangdi, Napoleon Bonaparte, and George Washington. He became chairman of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and was known to call members of his party who didn’t share his views “old women with bound feet.” The first edition of “The Little Red Book,” containing excerpts from his collected writings and speeches, was published under the direction of Lin Baio in 1964, and within a few years it became almost required reading throughout China. It is now considered one of the most-printed works in history. Mao served as chairman of the People’s Republic of China until 1959 and remained head of the Communist Party until he died at the age of eighty-two.

All Writing

Reading is learning, but applying is also learning and the more important kind of learning at that.

—Mao Zedong, 1936

Voices In Time

1963 | Beijing

Leap to Mind

Mao on the importance of correct ideas.More

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

—Mao Zedong, 1938


Between 1959 and 1962 in China, Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward increased industrial growth at the expense of agricultural output. More than 45 million people perished from famine and disease, as well as from floods, droughts, and locusts.

Every communist must grasp the truth: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

—Mao Zedong, 1938

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