Barbara W. Tuchman won the Pulitzer Prize for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 in 1972. She uses the life of Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China in 1935-39 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942-44, to explore the history of China from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China's Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Her story is an account of both American relations with China and the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe," Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of The National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story."
Table of Contents
|Prologue: The Crisis||1|
|1||Foundations of an Officer||9|
|2||Visitor to Revolution: China, 1911||25|
|3||The Great War: St. Mihiel and Shantung||42|
|4||Assignment to Peking: Years of the Warlords, 1920-23||61|
|5||The "Can Do" Regiment and the Rise of Chiang Kai-shek, 1926-29||90|
|6||"Vinegar Joe," 1929-35||123|
|7||Military Attache: China's Last Chance, 1935-37||143|
|8||Military Attache: Sino-Japanese War, 1937-39||164|
|9||The Rush to Prepare 1939-41||203|
|10||"I'll Go Where I'm Sent" December 1941-February 1942||229|
|11||"A Hell of a Beating" March-May 1942||256|
|12||The Client June-October 1942||301|
|13||"Peanut and I on a raft" August 1942-January 1943||326|
|14||The President's Policy January-May 1943||349|
|15||Stilwell Must Go June-October 1943||375|
|16||China's Hour at Cairo November-December 1943||396|
|17||The Road Back December 1943-July 1944||415|
|18||"The Future of All Asia Is at Stake" June-September 1944||455|
|19||The Limits of "Can Do" September-November 1944||483|
|20||"We Ought to Get Out--Now" 1945-46||510|
|Appendix||Road-Building, 1921: Haphazard Conversations by Major Joseph W. Stilwell||535|
|Bibliography and Other Sources||541|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shrewdly crafted story of China that covers the period from the Boxers to the Koumintang. It surveys a gamut of feckless U.S. policy of high hopes and strategic wavering. Amid all Stilwell--tough, terse and pithy--strives to keep China a key player in the WWII fight against the Japanese, and tries to shape U.S. policy as well. Books deftly blends the pre-Communism history of China through the prism of U.S. policy and strategy, with the story of Vinegar Joe Stilwell... a colorful but less well known figure than many other WWII generals. A great book for study of the key dilemmas facing politicians and generals, and how to function in a near impossible situation.
This book covers the fall of the Chinese monarchy in 1911 to the end of 1946. This is a fine instruction manual on how regime change can go bad. The Chinese peasants, or the 100 Man as they are called in China, groaned under the weight of a corrupt and dying caste system under Imperial dictates in China. When the imperial system abdicated in 1911, utter chaos reigned in its place. Enter a scramble by warlords, western powers, and Imperial Japan to supplant it. America was a bewildered bystander. We are so hoplessly optimistic, like Candide in the woods, that we think everyone is better off like us. Unfortunately we supported the corrupt Nationalist government against the communist. The leader of the Nationalist was CKS, a man who was hopelessly unprepared to deal with Mao Te Sung, and an admirer of Hitler. Stilwell was a good man in the middle. Our attempt at regime change failed in China because we paid money to the Nationalist and didn't expect results.Hopefully this book will help people understand China and the process of American supported regime change. Outside of out and out aggression to invade, we have never been successful at this regime change game.Recommended reading to every American, and all U.S foreign service personel.
Still the definative history of America's war in China.
Barbara Tuchman deservedly won a Pulitzer for this biography of an outspoken US WWII general fighting in, for and against Kuomintang China. As an officer of the China-based 15th US infantry and later as military attaché and US military pointman on China, Stilwell was an eyewitness of the end of the Chinese empire up to the Chinese Civil War.The biography is especially valuable regarding the management and subtle power plays of client rulers. Stilwell as US emissary was flatterred, challenged, ignored, played and frustrated by China's homegrown dictator Chiang Kai-Shek (codenamed "peanut" by Stilwell). The negative influence of US domestic politics on a consistent foreign policy is also highlighted by Tuchman who is a master in writing history books (here: WWII) as a commentary on current affairs (here: the Vietnam War).