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The life of Mao Zedong who became ruler of the worlds most populous nation is one of the most remarkable stories of the 20th century.His leadership of the communist revolution and the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949, after two decades of civil war and Japanese invasion, earned him the title of Chairman Mao and the Great Leader.His launch of rapid and extensive collectivisation and industrialisation in his second Five Year Plan, known as the Great Leap Forward, had catastrophic repercussions for millions in rural China, and the Cultural Revolution that he instigated in the sixties led directly to the destruction of a large part of the countrys cultural heritage. But he remained untouched by the turmoil around him, protected by the formidable cult he had created and by his ruthless elimination of political rivals. Alternately glorified and demonised, he is still regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history.Printed Pages: 224.