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

John Bryon, Author, John Byron, Author, Robert Pack, With Simon & Schuster $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-69537-8
Based on material smuggled out of the People's Republic, this is a first-class biography of Mao's hatchet man, China's counterpart to Stalin's Beria. Kang Sheng (1898-1975) was the godfather of the 1960s-1970s Cultural Revolution, during which hundreds of thousands of Chinese were slaughtered in the name of land reform and other exercises in social engineering. Byron and Pack describe how Kang's obsession with power drove him to betray his high-level comrades until, near the end of his life, he effected a ``masterpiece of treachery'' against Mao's former wife, Jiang Qing, Kang's closest associate and longtime protegee. He charged her with treason. The authors' detailed indictment of Kang is devastating: they contend that he transformed China into a ``world of cruelty bereft of almost every trace of human sympathy.'' Portrait of a major historical monster whose legacy is still evident in the People's Republic, this is crucial reading for students of modern China. Byron is the pseudonym of a veteran Western diplomat; Pack coauthored Speaking Out with Larry Speakes. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Discover what to read next