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China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2014
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A riveting account of the watershed moment in America's dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China's Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as heroes, rescuing airmen shot down over enemy territory. Chinese leaders talked of a future in which American money and technology would help lift China out of poverty. Mao Zedong himself held friendly meetings with U.S. emissaries, vowing to them his intention of establishing an American-style democracy in China. By year's end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust. Chinese Communist soldiers were setting ambushes for American marines in north China; Communist newspapers were portraying the United States as an implacable imperialist enemy; civil war in China was erupting. The pattern was set for a quarter century of almost total Sino-American mistrust, with the devastating wars in Korea and Vietnam among the consequences. Richard Bernstein here tells the incredible story of that year's sea change, brilliantly analyzing its many components, from ferocious infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers to the complex relations between Mao and his patron, Stalin. On the American side, we meet experienced "China hands" John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service, whose efforts at negotiation made them prey to accusations of Communist sympathy; FDR's special ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, a decorated general and self-proclaimed cowboy; and Time journalist, Henry Luce, whose editorials helped turn the tide of American public opinion. On the Chinese side, Bernstein reveals the ascendant Mao and his intractable counterpart, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek; and the indispensable Zhou Enlai. A tour de force of narrative history, China 1945 examines the first episode in which American power and good intentions came face-to-face with a powerful Asian revolutionary movement, and challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of modern Sino-American relations.
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Street Date:
11/04/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385353519
ASIN:
B00KAFVOVY
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APA Citation (style guide)

Richard Bernstein. (2014). China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Richard Bernstein. 2014. China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Richard Bernstein, China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Richard Bernstein. China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Richard Bernstein has been a reporter, culture critic, and commentator for more than thirty years. He was a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe for Time magazine and The New York Times, and was the first Beijing bureau chief for Time. He is the author of many books on Chinese and Asian themes, among them The Coming Conflict with China and Ultimate Journey, the latter of which was a New York Times Best Book of the Year. He is also the author of Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11, 2001, which was named by The Boston Globe as one of the seven best books of 2002. He lives in New York.

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title
China 1945
fullDescription
A riveting account of the watershed moment in America's dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations
As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China's Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as heroes, rescuing airmen shot down over enemy territory. Chinese leaders talked of a future in which American money and technology would help lift China out of poverty. Mao Zedong himself held friendly meetings with U.S. emissaries, vowing to them his intention of establishing an American-style democracy in China.
By year's end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust. Chinese Communist soldiers were setting ambushes for American marines in north China; Communist newspapers were portraying the United States as an implacable imperialist enemy; civil war in China was erupting. The pattern was set for a quarter century of almost total Sino-American mistrust, with the devastating wars in Korea and Vietnam among the consequences.
Richard Bernstein here tells the incredible story of that year's sea change, brilliantly analyzing its many components, from ferocious infighting among U.S. diplomats, military leaders, and opinion makers to the complex relations between Mao and his patron, Stalin.
On the American side, we meet experienced "China hands" John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service, whose efforts at negotiation made them prey to accusations of Communist sympathy; FDR's special ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, a decorated general and self-proclaimed cowboy; and Time journalist, Henry Luce, whose editorials helped turn the tide of American public opinion. On the Chinese side, Bernstein reveals the ascendant Mao and his intractable counterpart, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek; and the indispensable Zhou Enlai.

A tour de force of narrative history, China 1945 examines the first episode in which American power and good intentions came face-to-face with a powerful Asian revolutionary movement, and challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of modern Sino-American relations.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Times
      • content: "If you read only one book on this crucial period, Mr. Bernstein's work should be it."
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Excellent....Bernstein...covers China's political context in 1945 like a scholar, but maintains his journalist's eye for human drama."
      • premium: False
      • source: Foreign Affairs
      • content: "Elegant and compelling....This thoughtful book moves decisively beyond sterile old debates to demonstrate that in the end, China's fate in 1945 was for the Chinese people, and not Americans, to decide."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: "Skillfully crafted...Mr. Bernstein provides a rich account of just how far the Communist leaders went in wooing, and misleading, the Americans....This attention to the Chinese point of view sets Mr. Bernstein's book apart from its most celebrated precursor, Barbara W. Tuchman's 1971Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Post
      • content: "Excellent....An important book."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Christian Science Monitor
      • content: "Extensively researched....[Bernstein's] findings about the limits of US influence in China are relevant to more recent American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan."
      • premium: False
      • source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
      • content: "A fascinating, sometimes harrowing account of an uncertain period...pointedly relevant to today's global dilemmas as well."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Sibley, Military History Quarterly
      • content: "A rich, compelling book told with subtlety and grace. For those interested in understanding how China went Communist in the middle of the 20th century, it is well worth the read."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "Stimulating....A timely analysis that sheds light on the realities of American engagement in Asia."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Thoroughly researched and well-argued...highly recommended."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus
      • content: "Immensely readable....A nuanced hindsight assessment that expertly pursues the historical ramification of roads not taken."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Cogent and engaging."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 8, 2014
        Asia expert and former foreign correspondent Bernstein (The Coming Conflict with China) addresses a pivotal year in
        Sino-American relations in this meticulously researched, stimulating book.
        Recent skirmishes between the superpowers hark back to this “turning point” 70 years ago when relations between Washington and Beijing soured. Bernstein opens with an overview of the devastating and prolonged Second Sino-Japanese War. A cast of American war heroes rescued China from Japan and established a democracy, but American leaders were blindsided by the Chinese Communist Party’s alliance with the Soviets, which was a major cause of U.S. involvement in two subsequent Asian wars. Part two introduces the colorful American diplomat Patrick J. Hurley and the ongoing struggle of the U.S. to keep Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the nationalist Kuomingtang, in power, while part three explores the dilemma of U.S. policy toward a China “divided into two countries.” President Truman appointed George C. Marshall ambassador to China at the end of 1945, but the following year brought chaos, and nothing could divert Mao from his policy of revolution. Arguing that in 1945 American foreign policy was “bungling, inconsistent, and improvised,” Bernstein states that going forward the U.S. must set reasonable goals and pursue them sensibly. It’s a timely analysis that sheds light on the realities of American engagement in Asia. Agent: Kathy Robbins, Robbins Office.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        October 1, 2014
        Journalist Bernstein (The East, the West, and Sex: A History of Erotic Encounters, 2009, etc.), who was the first bureau chief in China for Time, uses his considerable expertise on the Chinese Revolution to create this immensely readable account of how the United States "lost" China to the communists and who was ultimately at fault: the Americans, the Soviets or Mao?The dilemma of whom America should back as the Chinese civil war gained steam-the U.S. officially supported Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang Nationalist People's Party yet did not want to alienate Mao Zedong's surprisingly resourceful Communists-was further exacerbated by the eight-year war with Japan. That war had consolidated the KMT's resources, giving Mao a respite from Chiang's attempts to wipe out the Communists and allowing them to gain an equitable status in fighting No. 1 enemy Japan. The State Department's "China hands," who would eventually be vilified as communist sympathizers-e.g., John Paton Davies, John Stewart Service and John Carter Vincent-were "naively dazzled by the Communists in 1944 and 1945" and lulled by Mao's charm campaign to put aside ideological differences with Chiang in the concerted effort to defeat Japan. Yet once Japan was vanquished and the Soviet Union rolled into Manchuria on Aug. 9, 1945, the Americans, led by Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley, continued to be optimistic (at the Yalta Conference, the Americans had agreed to give the Russians "certain privileges in China"), while Chiang, desperate for American support, saw the writing on the wall. Bernstein deftly sifts through the complex machinations of these excruciating few months, when all parties slyly engaged in a similar tactical ploy: "ingratiate yourself with your enemy when you need to keep him at bay, confuse him, or...exploit the 'contradictions' between him and other enemies, to prevent them from combining against you." A nuanced hindsight assessment that expertly pursues the historical ramification of roads not taken.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        October 15, 2014
        Bernstein (Ultimate Journey, 2001), who spent the 1980s as a self-described China watcher for Time magazine, examines the pivotal moments at the close of WWII that would define the trajectory of U.S.-China relations for decades to come. As the war moved into its endgame, the U.S. continued to provide military support for the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, but it also quietly opened diplomatic relations with Mao Zedong's increasingly powerful Communist forces. It was clear that the civil war that had been (barely) paused to address the Japanese threat was about to be restarted, but it was unclear which side would win, or how the Maoists would rule should they prevail. It may be tempting to consider alternate histories in which Sino-American relations never cooled, Bernstein argues in this cogent and engaging selection, but to imagine a past in which Mao was an allyor even remained unaligned in the Cold Waris to ignore considerable evidence about Mao's intentions and strategic methods.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2014

        A longtime reporter and cultural commentator who has written frequently about China (his Ultimate Journey was a New York Times Best Book), Bernstein makes us rethink our assumptions about the relationship between China and America by examining the turning-point year of 1945. Early that year, America was on comfortable terms with Mao and his Communist followers, but Mao's ambitious maneuvering, ideological conflict in U.S. military and diplomatic ranks, and the sense that China would soon be emerging on the world stage combined to push the U.S. government toward Chiang Kai-shek.

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from November 1, 2014

        Would the Cold War have unfolded differently in Asia if the United States had cultivated a closer relationship with the Chinese communist party during World War II? That is the primary question of Bernstein's (A Girl Named Faithful Plum) latest work. While America and China collaborated against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the relationship between the two countries deteriorated in 1945 when the United States lent support to Chiang Kai-shek, an anticommunist statesman who served as head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928 to 1949. Bernstein argues that this cooperation had major implications for America's later involvement in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He concludes that communist revolutionary Mao Zedong's steadfast devotion to Stalin's political ideology of Marxism-Leninism meant there was not much the United States could have done to prevent an acrimonious relationship with Chinese communists after World War II. VERDICT This thoroughly researched and well-argued work is highly recommended for those interested in Sino-American relations during the World War II and Cold War periods. The inclusion of stories from individuals impacted by these events adds to the book's value. Readers interested in China's World War II experience should also consider Rana Mitter's Forgotten Ally.--Joshua Wallace, Ranger Coll., TX

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 1, 2014

        Would the Cold War have unfolded differently in Asia if the United States had cultivated a closer relationship with the Chinese communist party during World War II? That is the primary question of Bernstein's (A Girl Named Faithful Plum) latest work. While America and China collaborated against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the relationship between the two countries deteriorated in 1945 when the United States lent support to Chiang Kai-shek, an anticommunist statesman who served as head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928 to 1949. Bernstein argues that this cooperation had major implications for America's later involvement in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He concludes that communist revolutionary Mao Zedong's steadfast devotion to Stalin's political ideology of Marxism-Leninism meant there was not much the United States could have done to prevent an acrimonious relationship with Chinese communists after World War II. VERDICT This thoroughly researched and well-argued work is highly recommended for those interested in Sino-American relations during the World War II and Cold War periods. The inclusion of stories from individuals impacted by these events adds to the book's value. Readers interested in China's World War II experience should also consider Rana Mitter's Forgotten Ally.--Joshua Wallace, Ranger Coll., TX

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A riveting account of the watershed moment in America's dealings with China that forever altered the course of East-West relations
As 1945 opened, America was on surprisingly congenial terms with China's Communist rebels—their soldiers treated their American counterparts as heroes, rescuing airmen shot down over enemy territory. Chinese leaders talked of a future in which American money and technology would help lift China out of poverty. Mao Zedong himself held friendly meetings with U.S. emissaries, vowing to them his intention of establishing an American-style democracy in China.
By year's end, however, cordiality had been replaced by chilly hostility and distrust. Chinese Communist soldiers were setting ambushes for American marines in north China; Communist newspapers were portraying the United States as an implacable imperialist enemy; civil war in China was erupting. The pattern was set for a quarter century of almost total Sino-American mistrust, with the...
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China 1945 Maos Revolution and Americas Fateful Choice
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Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice
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