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Hardcover Dragon by the Tail: American, British, Japanese, and Russian Encounters with China and One Another Book

ISBN: 0393054551

ISBN13: 9780393054552

Dragon by the Tail: American, British, Japanese, and Russian Encounters with China and One Another

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

This book is a mingling of history and autobiography, of long focus and close-up. Born in China during the last days of the empire, the author served as an American diplomat in the midst of the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

History written in beautiful English

I was referred to this book by an American Artist whom had lived in Japan for almost 50 years. As a Chinese, I thought I know Chinese history, but after reading through JD's detail account of events with vivid description of the personalities, I can visualize the historical moments through the paper. It is so well written that I have to read very slowly to digest it. Combining this with other readings during the same period, including Ray Huang's lesser known Yellow River Blue Mountain (his autobiography), I am beginning to see history in perspective!

Martyr For A Sane Foreign Policy

John Davies has crafted a superb tale of his years in Asia and Moscow. He was a classic Old China Hand, raised by missionary parents in China, a fluent speaker of the language, and a natural to serve in the State Department and as Army liaison during World War II. The book combines period documents with later reflections, dazzling readers with thrilling adventures and portentous encounters with the era's major figures: Generalissimo and Madame Chiang, Stilwell, Mao, Zhou Enlai, Roosevelt, Marshall. The 1948-9 Nationalist debacle sparked an anticommunist hunt for scapegoats blamed for "losing" China (it was never ours to lose), tragically depriving the US of wise counsel from Davies, John Service, Oliver Clubb, John Vincent and others. As J.K. Fairbank noted, neither before nor since has America had such gifted country experts to advise on foreign policy. Davies's view of a defense-minded Soviet Union again was more realistic than the official line which helped provoke the Cold War. His globetrotting is a little hard to follow, and fuller coverage of post-1945 events would be welcome, but these are quibbles. See L. Van Slyke ed, "The China White Paper." E. Sevareid, "Not so Wild a Dream" augments Davies's modest paragraph on their celebrated parachute jump and escape from Burma. E.J. Kahn, "The China Hands" details wartime conflicts and postwar persecutions, while J.S. Service, "Lost Chance in China" contains prophetic field reports by Davies's most astute colleague.

an excellent 'first person review of chinese history.

As above, a wonderful description of Chinese history in the 20th century by someone who was there. From the manchu's through early revolution to Chiang and the Communist struggle; one insight follows another.

Superb! Overlooked because of persecution of "China hands."

If you wish to understand Sino-American relations in the 20th Century, this book by our most brilliant (and persecuted) Political Officer in the State Department, must be your starting point. It is more than educational. His digressions - descriptions of the voyages of Cheng Ho during the Ming Dynasty; Mukden during the early years of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria; the celebration in Moscow after V-E day; etc., etc. - reveal a literary gift of the highest magnitude. Truly, one of the best books I have ever read. In fact, it irks me that so few people have read it.
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