I was reading a controversial book, Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, and found it quite biased. However, they cite a variety of sources to back up their information. Therefore, I would like to know how authentic this information is. How much is the information skewed? Is anything made up?

  • 1
    The relevant wikipedia article has a criticism section.
    – yannis
    Nov 20 '12 at 10:10
  • @YannisRizos, The wikipedia page is great, but it's not very specific, however, I did not follow the citations.
    – Russell
    Nov 20 '12 at 11:08
  • Mao, being a controversial leader, will have books written about him that typically have a bias one way or another. I have read a few of them, and there is a slant on them all. Sources are useful in providing information, but any source can be misused, taken out of context or abused so no matter how much you cite if you improperly use a source it's not the source's fault but the writer. The information can be authentic just not accurately portrayed
    – MichaelF
    Nov 20 '12 at 12:41
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    As much as I do like to read biased books (who doesn't), I only try to mention/cite/recall them where the neutrality is not very important; mostly in small talk. In general, it doesn't matter if a book is properly (or even magnificently) sourced: it is not a reliable source if it is biased. I treat such books as fun reads, collections of dubious anecdotes, and bibliographies of candidates for primary sources (candidates that need re-verification). Inherently, the less a book is scientific, the more it is entertaining. Secondary source is really dull if it's properly written.
    – kubanczyk
    Nov 20 '12 at 13:14
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    Sorry, but I closed because of the following reason: "this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion". This question, as posted, cannot be answered objectively and without opinion or discussion. If you would like to modify it I will consider reopening. Nov 20 '12 at 14:39