Some of the book's revelations:
- Mao was never driven by ideology. The communist party was merely a convenient vehicle by which he could gain personal power.
- The so-called "Long March" of Mao and his band of communists in the 1930's, one of the most overblown myths of Mao's personality cult, was no heroic struggle. Rather, deals made between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and Stalin allowed Mao's army to proceed. Later in the march, Mao intentionally sacrificed a huge number of Red Army troops under the command of a rival for his power base, Chang Kuo-t'ao.
- In 1946, Mao and the Red Army were on their last ropes fighting the Nationalists in northern Manchuria, where they had only one remaining strong post in the city Harbin. The Nationalist Army was advancing with much superior strength, and Mao had become resigned to abandoning the city and resorting to guerrilla warfare. He was saved at the last minute by a most unlikely ally - the United States. The US put heavy pressure on the Nationalists to call a cease fire - at the very moment Chiang Kai-shek was on the verge of victory. Mao issue an order to disperse the troops and resort to guerrilla warfare on June 3, but rescinded it on June 5 when the cease-fire was declared. According to the author, this cease fire was probably the single most important decision affecting the outcome of the civil war, which of course the communists won.
- The Great Leap Forward, a 5 year economic plan from 1958 to 1963, caused the deaths of 38 million Chinese from starvation and overwork. As if that's not bad enough, these deaths were not the unintended consequence of failed economic policy. Mao caused the famine by selling most of the nation's crop to the Soviets and other allies in order to buy weapons, and especially nuclear weapon technology. Even when made fully aware of the mass famine across the country, Mao pushed to extract even more crops from the peasants.
- The reason Mao launched the brutal cultural revolution in 1966 was to purge his rivals in the party and in the Army, whose influence was becoming a threat to his totalitarian power. Even his closest and most loyal supporters were subjected to torture and imprisonment. Liu Shao Chi, one of the top party members, was imprisoned and tortured for 3 years until dying in prison in 1969. Amazingly, his death was not made public until after Mao's death, because Mao was so worried that it arouse sympathy for Liu.
- Over the course of Mao's rule, 70 million Chinese died at Mao's hands.