The Claws of the Dragon: Kang Sheng-the Evil Genius Behind Mao and His Legacy of Terror in People's China

Byron, John; Pack, Robert

Published by Simon & Schuster, 1992
ISBN 10: 0671797166 / ISBN 13: 9780671797164
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Good null Good 8vo-over 7??"-9??" tall. 560 pages, clean text, cover is worn, nicks, creasing. "Based on secret communist documents obtained in Peking, The Claws of the Dragon is a ground-breaking biography of one of the most influential and sinister figures of the twentieth century. Scarcely known in the West. Kang Sheng was one of Mao Zedong's closet advisers. Using techniques learned from Stalin, he founded China's dreaded secret police and played a key role in the demonic Cultural Revolution. For more than fifty years, he terrorized China, overseeing the murders of perhaps a million people and arranging the imprisonment and torture of over ten million more.". Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Kang Sheng held tremendous power in China for more than 50 years. As a member of Mao's inner circle, he created China's dreaded secret police, unleashed the demonic Cultural Revolution, and oversaw the murder and torture of millions of Chinese. The Claws of the Dragon is a stunning revelation of the inner workings of Chinese politics and government. 16 pages of photos.

From Kirkus Reviews: A compelling and well-detailed biography of Kang Sheng, Mao's sadistic, Machiavellian head of secret police. Byron (a pseudonymous ``veteran Western diplomat'') and Pack (coauthor, Speaking Out, 1988; Edward Bennett Williams for the Defense, 1985, etc.) exaggerate less than you might think in claiming that ``next to Kang Sheng, Mao himself seems to shrink in importance and interest.'' Convincingly comparing Kang to Beria, head of the Soviet secret police under Stalin, the authors show how Kang rose from obscure roots in feudal Chinese society to become the mastermind of the Communist police state and the ``bad cop'' of the terrifying Cultural Revolution. Kang entered Chinese politics as a renegade revolutionary living the secret life of a Communist in Shanghai under the Kuomintang. Shrewdly riding coattails into the Party's inner circles, he soon took over the Chinese Communist secret police, travelling to Moscow (a ``finishing school for sadists'') to learn from Stalin's purges gruesome techniques for liquidating opposition to Communism. After the 1949 Revolution, Kang's ascent continued via a calculated flattering of Mao's egomania--and the execution of hundreds of thousands of Chinese. All the while, private passions and eccentricities such as opium smoking, manic-depression, and expert ambidextrous calligraphy made him a bizarre, shadowy player in Mao's inner circle--one who helped orchestrate such calamities as the Hundred Flowers Movement, the suppressions of the Cultural Revolution, and the purging of Deng Xiaoping. Kang's reputation lasted until shortly after his 1975 death, when his secret conspiracy with the hated Gang of Four was made public. In 1980, he was expelled posthumously from the Party. Despite occasional repetition and much melodrama, a mesmerizing peek into China's veiled backstage politics. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs; map--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Claws of the Dragon: Kang Sheng-the Evil...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1992
Binding: Trade Paperback
Edition: 2nd Printing

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