Jon Halliday

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Halliday (left) and Chang (right) with Spanish politician Santiago Carrillo

Jon Halliday (born 28 June 1939) is an Irish historian specialising in modern Asia. He was formerly a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London. He was educated at University of Oxford and has been married to Jung Chang since 1991. Halliday is the older brother of the late Irish International relations academic and writer Fred Halliday.[1]

Halliday has written or edited eight books, including a long interview with the U.S. film-maker Douglas Sirk. In addition, he and his wife, Jung Chang, with whom he lives in Notting Hill, West London, researched and wrote a biography of Mao Zedong, Mao: the Unknown Story. The book was highly praised in the popular press, and also elicited some controversy.[2][3] The Sydney Morning Herald reported that while few commentators disputed it, "some of the world's most eminent scholars of modern Chinese history" had referred to the book as "a gross distortion of the records."[4] Some scholars offered measured praise of the range of scholarship,[5][6][7] but more prevalent criticism on factual accuracy, methodology, and use of sources.[8][9][10] Historian Rebecca Karl summarized its negative reception, writing, "According to many reviewers of [Mao: The Unknown Story], the story told therein is unknown because Chang and Halliday substantially fabricated it or exaggerated it into existence."[11]


  • Sirk on Sirk: Interviews with Jon Halliday (Secker & Warburg 1971), ISBN 0-436-09924-1
  • "Japan and America: antagonistic alliance". New Left Review. New Left Review. I (77): 59–76. January–February 1973. (with Gavan McCormack)
  • Japanese Imperialism Today: "Co-prosperity in Greater East Asia" (Penguin 1973), ISBN 0-14-021669-3 (with Gavan McCormack)
  • The Psychology of Gambling (Allen Lane 1974), ISBN 0-7139-0642-1 (ed. with Peter Fuller)
  • A Political History of Japanese Capitalism (Monthly Review 1975), ISBN 0-85345-471-X
  • The Artful Albanian: The Memoirs of Enver Hoxha (Chatto & Windus 1986), ISBN 0-7011-2970-0 (ed.)
  • Mme Sun Yat-sen (Soong Ching-ling) (Penguin 1986), ISBN 0-14-008455-X (with Jung Chang)
  • Korea: The Unknown War (Viking 1988), ISBN 0-670-81903-4 (with Bruce Cumings)
  • Mao: The Unknown Story (Jonathan Cape 2005), ISBN 0-224-07126-2 (with Jung Chang)


  1. ^ A harvest of sorrow
  2. ^ "Storm rages over bestselling book on monster Mao". the Guardian. 4 December 2005. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  3. ^ Was Mao Really a Monster: The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday's "Mao: The Unknown Story" (London, New York: Routledge, 2010), p. 9, 11.
  4. ^ "A swan's little book of ire". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 October 2005. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  5. ^ Goodman, David S.G. (September 2006). "Mao and The Da Vinci Code: conspiracy, narrative and history". The Pacific Review. 19 (3): 361, 362, 363, 375, 376, 380, 381. doi:10.1080/09512740600875135. S2CID 144521610.
  6. ^ Benton, Gregor; Steven Tsang (January 2006). "The Portrayal of Opportunism, Betrayal, and Manipulation in Mao's Rise to Power". The China Journal (55): 96, 109. doi:10.2307/20066121. JSTOR 20066121. S2CID 144181404.
  7. ^ Cheek, Timothy (January 2006). "The New Number One Counter-Revolutionary Inside the Party: Academic Biography as Mass Criticism". The China Journal (55): 110, 118.
  8. ^ Pye, L. P. Mao: The Unknown Story, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2005,
  9. ^ Gao, Mobo (2008). The Battle for China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution. London: Pluto Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7453-2780-8.
  10. ^ Li, J. (2010), "Review of Was Mao Really a Monster? The Academic Response to Chang and Halliday's Mao: The Unknown Story, by G. Benton & L. Chun" in China Review International, 17(4), 408–412
  11. ^ Karl, Rebecca E. (2010). Mao Zedong and China in the twentieth-century world : a concise history. Durham [NC]: Duke University Press. pp. ix. ISBN 978-0-8223-4780-4. OCLC 503828045.