Allinson, The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong

Robert Elliott Allinson is pleased to announce that he has published a single authored monograph, The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong: Notations, Reflections and Insights with Bloomsbury Academic Publishers, London, Oxford, New York, New Delhi and Sydney, 2020. It has received endorsements from the following:

“Mao Ze Dong 毛泽东is celebrated (or cursed) as a revolutionary leader, but the philosophical foundation of his activity is largely ignored. In his superb study, Allinson fills in this lack. Mao’s thought is not just located in its historical context; its complex references to the Chinese traditional thought, to Marx and Western philosophy, but also to modern sciences (quantum physics), are explored and documented. A new Mao thus emerges, a Mao whose radical acts are grounded in a thick texture of philosophical reflections. Allinson’s Mao is indispensable for everybody who wants to understand not just Mao but the concatenation of philosophy and politics that characterized the twentieth century.”


Slavoj Žižek, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London, UK

“Who said that the Chinese Communist leaders are not thinkers? At least, Mao Zedong 毛泽东 was one, and lo and behold, there’s much more to it than meets the Marxist eye: he was actually a philosophical thinker! Has it ever occurred to you to associate Mao with Aristotle or with the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, the Yijing 易经? If you find it hard to believe, read this book by Robert Allinson who, in his own philosophical way, manages to inject new life and revived interest in this highly controversial but iconic figure which is still looming large behind the giant video screen of present day China.”

“谁说中国共产党领导人不是思想家?至少毛泽东就是其中一位。而且你瞧,不像马克思主义者看来那样简单, 毛泽东实际上是一位哲学思想家!你有没有想过把毛泽东和亚里士多德或中国古代的《易经》联系在一起?如果你觉得难以置信,那就来读读Allinson的这本书吧。Allinson以自己的哲学方式为这位极具争议但仍然隐藏在当今中国巨大荧幕背后的标志性人物注入了新的活力,并重新唤起了人们对毛泽东的兴趣。”

Anne Cheng, Chair of Chinese Intellectual History, Collège de France, Paris

“Through extensive research, involving not only Mao’s writings themselves but also the marginal notes he made on books he read, Allinson is able to trace the development of Mao’s thinking over the course of his lifetime and to demonstrate the degree to which he was actively engaged with both the Chinese and Western philosophical traditions throughout.  This is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the intellectual history of China.”


Michael Puett, Walter C. Klein, Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology, Harvard University, USA

“This is a most exciting and fascinating enterprise. It is a great observation that both Chinese and Western Philosophical Traditions nourished Mao. In short, Professor Allinson takes seriously the philosophical background. Professor Allinson’s connecting it with the Yijing [Book of Changes] 易经 is a new and fascinating departure. It is certainly important that it see the light of day as soon as possible. It is a magnificent statement on behalf of East-West philosophy.”


Irene Eber, Former Director and Louis Frieberg Professor Emerita of Chinese History and Philosophy, Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Former Senior Fellow, Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong: Notations, Reflections and Insights has received reviews in

The China Quarterly, 1–2 (Qiong Wang,June 3, 2022); Dao, A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 20(3), 499–503 (Keqian Xu, September 1, 2021); International Communication of Chinese Culture, 7(1), 53–56 (Janna Rosker, March 1, 2020); Asian Studies, 10(2), 399–403 (Selusi Ambrogio, May 9, 2022); Journal of Chinese Philosophy (David Chai – forthcoming); Philosophy East & West (Robert Neville – forthcoming), Mao Zedong Studies 毛泽东研究 (Keqian Xu – forthcoming).

Ambrogio, Selusi. “Robert E. Allinson: The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong. Notations, Reflections and Insights.” Asian Studies 10, no. 2 (May 9, 2022): 399–403.

Rošker, Jana S. “Robert Elliott Allinson: Influences of Mao Zedong—Notations, Reflections and Insights.” International Communication of Chinese Culture 7, no. 1 (March 1, 2020): 53–56.

Wang, Qiong. Review of The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong: Notations, Reflections and Insights, by Robert Elliott Allinson. The China Quarterly, June 3, 2022, 1–2.

Xu, Keqian. Review of The Philosophical Influences of Mao Zedong: Notations, Reflections and Insights, by Robert Elliott Allinson. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 20, no. 3 (September 1, 2021): 499–503.

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