Dragon in Ambush: The Art of War in the Poems of Mao Zedong


Product Details

Lexington Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.8 pounds

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About the Author

Brief Biography of Author: Jeremy Ingalls Jeremy Ingalls was a well-known American poet, scholar, editor, and translator. She was born April 2, 1911, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she attended Tufts University earning a B.A. (1932) and an M.A. (1933). She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature and Letters (Litt.D.) from Tufts University in 1965. Dr. Ingalls carried out post-graduate studies at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, 1945-47. Throughout the 1940s and 50s she taught at the University of Chicago, Western College in Oxford, Ohio, and at Rockford College, Illinois, where she was Resident Poet, Professor of Asian Studies, and eventually head of its English Department, 1953-60. She retired 1960 and moved to Tucson, Arizona to become a full-time writer and researcher. In 1941, she won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize for her book, The Metaphysical Sword. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1943-44), an American Academy of Arts and Letters grant (1944-45), a classical Chinese research fellowship from the Republic of China, Taiwan (1945-47), a Shelley Memorial Award for Poetry (1950), a Lola Ridge Memorial Award for Poetry (1951, 1952), and a Ford Foundation faculty fellowship (1952-53). Other honors included a Fulbright professorship (1957-58) in American literature at Kobe University, Japan, a Rockefeller Foundation lectureship in Kyoto, Japan (1958), a Steinman Foundation lecturer on poetry (1960), and an Asian Foundation delegate to the Republic of (South) Korea in 1964. Jeremy Ingalls died on March 16, 2000, in Tucson, Arizona. Brief Biography of Editor: Allen Wittenborn Allen Wittenborn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian Languages and Literature at San Francisco State College (now University) in 1967 where he studied Chinese and Japanese, and a Master of Arts in International Relations at the University of Oregon in 1970. He received his PhD in Asian Studies at the University of Arizona in 1979. During the 1980s, he worked in the travel and tour industry, in China and Southeast Asia as a translator and interpreter. From 1989 to 2007 when he retired, he taught in the departments of History and Asian Studies at San Diego State University. His dissertation, a critique and translation of writings by the philosopher, Zhu Xi, was published as Further Reflections on Things at Hand by University Press of America in 1991. In addition to numerous journal and newspapers articles, Dr. published his first novel, Kokang, in 2012.


Carefully translating and analyzing Mao's first 20 published poems for their political expression, the late Ingalls (poet, scholar, editor, and translator) presents Mao's poetry as an extension of his political thought rather than simply a leisure activity. After all, within China, poems had a long history of playing a role as political gauges. Part 1 establishes the historical and literary background needed to understand Mao's poems and his desire to become China's next emperor. Part 2 provides a more detailed literary, ideological, and textural analysis of each poem through Ingalls's examination of the ideas and words that explain the 'paradox that [Mao] understands but which ... he does not expect all of his readers to perceive.' This is an exceptionally well-written text, with extensive analytical notes, a bibliography, and a glossary of characters used. Readers do not have to be familiar with Mao's poems, but to fully benefit from this work, readers must be familiar with Mao's other writings and the writings of his contemporaries, with Chinese literary tradition, and with Chinese history from ancient times through the 20th century. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.--CHOICE
Dragon in Ambush is immensely detailed. . . .[The author's] emphasis is a much-needed corrective to the work of the many earlier translators and compilers, Chinese and foreign, who have been far too reverential toward Mao. Ingalls surpasses her predecessors in the detail and erudition of her work, and in the end conveys a sense of the inner Mao that is more credible than theirs.--The New York Review Of Books
Ingalls provides a seminal translation of twenty of Mao's poems, which will be of interest to many scholars across multiple fields. Her assertion that Mao intended to deliver a series of military and political messages for potential successors, which combine to endorse a strategy of ruthless psychological domination, represents a thought-provoking proposition, albeit one which may have been formed using subjective interpretations and a teleological approach. The work has considerable merit.--E-International Relations
Jeremy Ingalls's translations and analysis may be. . . .informative and educative to government policy makers and researchers, scholars, and students seeking to understand the impact of Mao Zedong on his country. It would also provide readers with the fundamentals in discovering why the People's Republic of China in the twentieth-first century has advanced to the level of a colossal global power.--Asian Affairs
Jeremy Ingalls' translation and explication of Mao Zedong's poems is an extraordinary work, so full of information that it seems bursting at its roughly 500-page seams. . . .Ingalls book is a rich source of information about Mao's poetic work, and in some respects his personal and political philosophy.--Modern Chinese Literature and Culture