Synopses & Reviews
The epic, untold story of Chinas 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 Chinas 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 Chiangs American chief of staff, the unforgettable “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of Chinas 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 Chinas worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.
The epic, untold story of Chinaand#8217;s devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan in World War II.
An Economist Book of the Year
A Financial Times Book of the Year
andldquo;A book that has long cried out to be written.andrdquo; andmdash; Observer (UK), Books of the Year
In 1937, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, Chinese troops clashed with Japanese occupiers in the first battle of World War II. Joining with the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain, China became the fourth great ally in a devastating struggle for its very survival.
Prizewinning historian Rana Mitter unfurls Chinaandrsquo;s drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue as never before. Based on groundbreaking research, this gripping narrative focuses on a handful of unforgettable characters, including Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, and Chiangandrsquo;s American chief of staff, andldquo;Vinegar Joeandrdquo; Stilwell. Mitter also recounts the sacrifice and resilience of everyday Chinese people through the horrors of bombings, famines, and the infamous Rape of Nanking.
More than any other twentieth-century event, World War II was crucial in shaping Chinaandrsquo;s worldview, making Forgotten Ally both a definitive work of history and an indispensable guide to todayandrsquo;s China and its relationship with the West.
andldquo;In the manner of David McCullough, [Mitter] creates a complex history that is urgently alive.andrdquo; andmdash; Kirkus Reviews
The searing, under-reported history ofand#160; the partition of India as aand#160;dramatic, bloody crisis that remains a key historical faultline today
Aand#160;and#160;few bloody months in South Asia during the summer of 1947 explainand#160;the world that troubles us today.
Nobody expected the liberation of India and birth of Pakistan to be so bloody andmdash; it was supposed to be an answer to the dreams of Muslims and Hindus who had been ruled by the British for centuries. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhiandrsquo;s protandeacute;gandeacute; and the political leader of India, believed Indians were an inherently nonviolent, peaceful people. Pakistanandrsquo;s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a secular lawyer, not a firebrand.and#160; But in August 1946, exactly a year before Independence, Calcutta erupted in street-gang fighting. A cycle of riots andmdash; targeting Hindus, then Muslims, then Sikhs andmdash; spiraled out of control. As the summer of 1947 approached, all three groups were heavily armed and on edge, and the British rushed to leave. Hell let loose. Trains carried Muslims west and Hindus east to their slaughter. Some of the most brutal and widespread ethnic cleansing in modern history erupted on both sides of the new border, searing a divide between India and Pakistan that remains a root cause of many evils. From jihadi terrorism to nuclear proliferation, the searing tale told in Midnightandrsquo;s Furies explains all too many of the headlines we read today.
About the Author
NISID HAJARI is the Asia editor for Bloomberg View. Prior to Bloomberg, he spent a decade at Newsweekandnbsp;as Asia editor, foreign editor, and eventually coeditor at the top of the masthead.andnbsp;He has appeared frequently as a commentator on foreign affairs on NPR, NBC, and CNN, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.