Absent Mao’s exploits, the Chinese people would have started to enjoy their present good fortune three decades earlier. But would China have found a strong political basis for its prosperity without Mao? This is the harder counterfactual question. We have surely made up our minds about Mao. The Chinese judgment on Mao’s revolution has been complicated and deferred by the longevity of the Communist regime and the country’s extraordinary economic successes. But it is also possible that the Chinese nation will continue in the decades ahead to acknowledge Mao as its father — disgraced, discredited, and irreplaceable.