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Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945

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Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The epic, untold story of China's devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan.

For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.

Rana Mitter focuses his gripping narrative on three towering leaders: Chiang Kai-shek, the politically gifted but tragically flawed head of China's Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communists fiery ideological stalwart, seen here at the beginning of his epochal career; and the lesser-known Wang Jingwei, who collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet state in occupied China. Drawing on Chinese archives that have only been unsealed in the past ten years, he brings to vivid new life such characters as Chiang's American chief of staff, the unforgettable “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of China's wartime capital, Chongqing. Throughout, Forgotten Ally shows how the Chinese people played an essential role in the wider war effort, at great political and personal sacrifice.

Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of World War II. Yet it also offers surprising insights into contemporary China. No twentieth-century event was as crucial in shaping China's worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.

Review:

"It is a remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter's debt...Mitter explores this complex politics with remarkable clarity and economy....No one could ask for a better guide than Mitter to how that story began in the cauldron of the Chinese war." The Guardian

Synopsis:

The epic, untold story of China's devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan in World War II.

Synopsis:

For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. China was the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain, yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West. In this emotionally gripping book, made possible through access to newly unsealed Chinese archives, Rana Mitter unfurls the story of China's World War II as never before and rewrites the larger history of the war in the process. He focuses his narrative on three towering leaders — Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and the lesser-known collaborator Wang Jingwei — and extends the timeline of the war back to 1937, when Japanese and Chinese troops began to clash, fully two years before Hitler invaded Poland.

Unparalleled in its research and scope, Forgotten Ally is a sweeping, character-driven history that will be essential reading not only for anyone with an interest in World War II, but also for those seeking to understand today's China, where, as Mitter reveals, the echoes of the war still reverberate.

About the Author

Rana Mitter is a professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Oxford and the author of several books including A Bitter Revolution. He is a regular contributor to British television and radio. His writing has appeared in the Financial Times, the Guardian, and elsewhere.

Table of Contents

Contents ix

Dramatis Personae xi

Pronunciation Guide xiii

Prologue: City on Fire 1

Part I: The Path to War 25

  1. As Close as Lips and Teeth: Chinas Fall, Japans Rise 27

  2. A New Revolution 43

  3. The Path to Confrontation 56

Part II: Disaster 77

  4. Thirty-seven Days in Summer: The Outbreak of War 79

  5. The Battle for Shanghai 98

  6. Refugees and Resistance 109

  7. Massacre at Nanjing 124

  8. The Battle of Taierzhuang 145

  9. The Deadly River 157

Part III: Resisting Alone 171

  10. “A sort of wartime normal” 173

  11. Flight into the Unknown 197

  12. The Road to Pearl Harbor 211

Part IV: The Poisoned Alliance 237

  13. Destination Burma 239

  14. Hunger in Henan 263

  15. States of Terror 280

  16. Conference at Cairo 296

  17. One War, Two Fronts 315

  18. Showdown with Stilwell 335

  19. Unexpected Victory 345

Epilogue: The Enduring War 365

Notes  380

Further Reading 429

Acknowledgments 437

Photo Credits 439

Index 440

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

rabbani, November 12, 2013 (view all comments by rabbani)
If you've never read a book about the Sino - Japanese war of 1937-45, then this is an excellent book for the layman - clear, concise, easy to read, without ever being simplistic - no mean feat.

If you have read about this period, then this is still a good book, but Fenby in his autobiography about Chiang Kai-Shek covers the same ground in more detail.

That being said, the bibliography and source material the author drew upon is first rate (as you would expect from a historian of his standing) and add greatly to the text.

I would take issue with the author's view that this was the first chapter of the Second World War. In my view, brutal though the conflict was, it was a regional war between two rivals. Logically, you could say the same about the European theatre in 1939, but the difference there is that France and Britain had global empires (and in Britain's case drew heavily on troops from the dominions)

A minor quibble to be sure, but don't let that detract from what is an excellent text.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618894253
Author:
Mitter, Rana
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Subject:
Military - World War II
Subject:
World History - China
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 9.99 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
Featured Titles » New Arrivals » Nonfiction
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » China, Burma, and India
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » Pacific
History and Social Science » World History » China

Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945 New Hardcover
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Product details 464 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780618894253 Reviews:
"Review" by , "It is a remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter's debt...Mitter explores this complex politics with remarkable clarity and economy....No one could ask for a better guide than Mitter to how that story began in the cauldron of the Chinese war."
"Synopsis" by , The epic, untold story of China's devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan in World War II.
"Synopsis" by , For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. China was the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain, yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West. In this emotionally gripping book, made possible through access to newly unsealed Chinese archives, Rana Mitter unfurls the story of China's World War II as never before and rewrites the larger history of the war in the process. He focuses his narrative on three towering leaders — Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and the lesser-known collaborator Wang Jingwei — and extends the timeline of the war back to 1937, when Japanese and Chinese troops began to clash, fully two years before Hitler invaded Poland.

Unparalleled in its research and scope, Forgotten Ally is a sweeping, character-driven history that will be essential reading not only for anyone with an interest in World War II, but also for those seeking to understand today's China, where, as Mitter reveals, the echoes of the war still reverberate.

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