Deng Xiaoping joined the Chinese Communist movement as a youth and rose in its ranks to become an important lieutenant of Mao's from the 1930s onward. Two years after Mao's death in 1976, Deng became the de facto leader of the Chinese Communist Party and the prime architect of China's post-Mao reforms. Abandoning the Maoist socioeconomic policies he had long fervently supported, he set in motion changes that would dramatically transform China's economy, society, and position in the world. Three decades later we are living with the results.
China has become the second-largest economy and the workshop of the world. And while it is essentially a market economy ("socialism with Chinese characteristics"), Deng and his successors ensured the continuation of CCP rule by severely repressing the democratic movement and maintaining an iron grip on power. When Deng died at the age of 92 in 1997, he had set China on the path it is following to this day. Alexander Pantsov and Steven Levine's new biography of Deng Xiaoping does what no other biography has done: Based on newly discovered documents, it covers his entire life, from his childhood and student years to the post-Tiananmen era.
Thanks to unprecedented access to Russian archives containing massive files on the Chinese Communist Party, the authors present a wealth of new material on Deng dating back to the 1920s. In a long and extraordinary life, Deng navigated one epic crisis after another. Born in 1904, Deng, like many Asian revolutionary leaders, spent part of the 1920s in Paris, where he joined the CCP in its early years. He then studied in the USSR just as Stalin was establishing firm control over the Soviet communist party.
©2015 Alexander V. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Alexander J A Burt on 01-02-18

Deng Xiommmmm

A well written, scholarly, and interesting romp through some of the most turbulent years in Chinese history.

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Customer Reviews

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4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 21-07-15


Deng Xiaoping was a devoted member of the communist party. Unlike Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping left almost no paper trail which has made it difficult for historians. He was noted to be crafty, and an obsessive bridge player. Deng Xiaoping was educated in France.

Pantsov, a professor of history at Capital University in Ohio, has done extensive research into the life of Deng Xiaoping. Steven I. Levine is a research faculty associate in the Department of History at the University of Montana. They spent years combing Russian achieves, obtaining access to Chinese documents and interviews with people. Obtaining as much information as the Chinese would allow.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part covers Deng’s life from birth in 1904 to meeting Mao in 1927. The second part covers his life with Mao up to 1950. The third part covers 1951 to his death and includes his denouncement during the Cultural Revolution. He gained control of the Communist party after the death of Mao. Deng Xiaoping was the one who ordered the Army into Tiananmen Square. Pantsov states that Deng Xiaoping was responsible for reducing poverty in China by over 50%.

The biography is well balanced and primarily well researched. The book also covers some of the history of China during this timeframe. The book is somewhat long at 22 hours. George Backman narrated the book.

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5 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Desmond on 07-11-15

Question on credibility

Overall it's a good book. I picked up some information previously unaware. The biggest question that I have is how the author could possibly gain access to a lot of private conversations. Much of that would not be in written form anywhere. I have serious doubt that the Russian archive could have such private conversation between the most senior and secretive leaders of China. That's a huge issue for me because it deals with the credibility of the entire book.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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