Deng Xiaoping

  • by Alexander V. Pantsov, Steven I. Levine
  • Narrated by George Backman
  • 21 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Desmond


Mao Zedong is said to have written–one must find truth from facts. The authors of “Deng Xiaoping” infer that Mao’s aphorism is institutionalized by his thrice demoted follower, Deng Xiaoping. Deng becomes the eventual supreme leader of the Chinese communist party. As shown in this biography, Deng’s truth is drawn from Deng’s selected facts. Deng’s pragmatism leads to the meteoric rise of China’s economy after the Cultural Revolution.

Alexander Patsov’s and Steven Levine’s research and writing supports an argument that Deng Xiaoping changed the course of the Chinese revolution by pragmatically applying the aphorism of “truth from facts”. Deng Xiaoping’s leadership quadruples the gross national product of China in a twenty year period from 1980 to 2000.

Though the authors offer great insight to Deng’s role in China, the deaths consequent to Communism’s rise to power, and Deng’s participation in those deaths, are glossed over. With the exception of Tiananmen Square and the brutalization of Deng’s family, the horror of the Communist Revolution is treated clinically rather than literally. Aside from the brutal part of China’s twentieth century history, this biography is a revelation to the uninformed.

“Deng Xiaoping” is a worthy listen. It is long but needs length to offer its nuanced view of Deng Xiaoping and where China is heading. In a world of capitalist countries, China’s capitalism is, in some respects, a distinction without a difference. China suffers from the same greed and corruption that all capitalist countries succumb to when freedom of the individual takes precedence over freedom of the public. The fundamental difference among capitalist countries lies in democracy; and the question of who gets to decide on a nation’s direction.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-30-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios