A Young Rebel

Mao Zedong is born in Hunan Province in 1893. Mao often argued with his strict, domineering father, who pushed him to pursue a Confucian education. Mao pursued his classical studies but his true loves were China’s classic adventure novels: The Water Margin¬†and Journey to the West.

As the imperial examination system crumbled, Mao also discovered the writing of turn-of-the-century reformers, eagerly gobbling up the work of Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao and Chen Duxiu.

As a teenager, Mao studied history, philosophy and geography at a school in the provincial capital of Changsha. One of his very first literary efforts was an essay in 1912 on Shang Yang, the great Legalist ruler.