Stilwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-1945
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Barbara W. Tuchman won her second Pulitzer Prize for this nonfiction masterpiece—an authoritative work of history that recounts the birth of modern China through the eyes of one extraordinary American.
General Joseph W. Stilwell was a man who loved China deeply, spoke its language, and knew its people as few Americans ever have. Barbara W. Tuchman’s groundbreaking narrative follows Stilwell from the time he arrived in China during the Revolution of 1911, through his tours of duty in Peking and Tientsin in the 1920s and 30s, to his return as theater commander in World War II, when the Nationalist government faced attack from both Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Peopled by warlords, ambassadors, missionaries, and the spiritual heir to the Empress Dowager, this classic biography of the cantankerous but level-headed “Vinegar Joe” sparkles with Tuchman’s genius for animating the people who shaped history.
Praise for Stilwell and the American Experience in China
“Tuchman’s best book . . . so large in scope, so crammed with information, so clear in exposition, so assured in tone that one is tempted to say it is not a book but an education.”—The New Yorker
“The most interesting and informative book on U.S.–China relations . . . a brilliant, lucid and authentic account.”—The Nation
“A fantastic and complex story finely told.”—The New York Times Book Review
Ring” meaning “At the Field.” Colonel Hunter wanted to make sure his hold was secure before sending the conclusive signal. As soon as “In the Ring” was received, General Old flew a reconnaissance plane over the Myitkyina airstrip but reported on his return that he could see nothing. “We’ll just have to sweat it out,” Stilwell recorded, periodically venting his anxiety in his pocket diary during this day. The wait lasted four hours. At 3:30 the message came, MERCHANT OF VENICE! meaning “Transports
as with gaining Communist military cooperation against Japan. Civil war, besides destroying any hope of the stable China that was needed to keep the future peace, might lead to American-Soviet conflict. For political as well as military reasons it appeared essential to bring the contenders into some form of coalition. Both Communists and Kuomintang gave lip service to the idea of coalition government and had opened negotiations in 1943 for a political settlement, probably less from conviction
working daily with Chinese officials, village magistrates, contractors, construction bosses and laborers, sleeping and eating the Chinese way, supervising the work on foot or horseback, bossing, cajoling, bargaining, playing the game of “face,” learning Chinese habits and characteristics and interrelations. He had no training or experience in engineering beyond what he had learned as an undergraduate at West Point, but he had self-confidence, and like Ulysses he was never content to stay long in
who were dug into the countryside of Kiangsi. Three successive “Bandit Suppression” campaigns, as these operations were called, absorbed the Government’s military effort and brought it unpleasant defeats from the Communists’ guerilla tactics in the year before the Japanese struck. Three times in eighty years, in a country in desperate need of reform, the revolutionary surge had been frustrated. Chiang was concerned with piecing together political power, not with rooting it in a new social
organization, good tactics. They do not want the cities. Content to rough it in the country. Poorly armed and equipped, yet scare the Government to death.” These were the factors, in visible contrast to the decline of the Kuomintang, which impressed foreign observers. Stilwell had been learning what he could about the Communists for some time and evidently sharing his information with fellow attaches. A note from the British Embassy in February 1936 thanked him for “a most interesting brochure on