Synopses & Reviews
The epic, untold story of Chinaand#8217;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 Chinaand#8217;s Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communistsand#8217; 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 Chiangand#8217;s American chief of staff, the unforgettable and#8220;Vinegar Joeand#8221; Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of Chinaand#8217;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 Chinaand#8217;s worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.
"Chang fails [in her account] because she rushes to simplify complex events and to universalize what happened at the expense of a careful, comprehensive appreciation of a world violently destroyed." Kirkus
"In her important new book, Iris Chang, whose own grandparents were survivors, recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage." Orville Schell, New York Times Book Review
"A gripping account that holds the reader's attention from beginning to end. This meticulously researched book is a moving drama that pays fitting tribute to the Americans and Europeans living in Nanking who risked their lives to rescue the Chinese people from rape and extermination." Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai
"Anyone interested in the relation between war, self-righteousness, and the human spirit will find The Rape of Nanking of fundamental importance. It is scholarly, an exciting investigation and a work of passion. In places it is almost unbearable to read, but it should be read only if the past is understood can the future be navigated." Ross Terrill, author of Mao, China in Our Time and Madame Mao
"The first comprehensive examination of the destruction of this Chinese imperial city...Ms. Chang, whose grandparents narrowly escaped the carnage, has skillfully excavated from oblivion the terrible events that took place." —The Wall Street Journal
"A powerful new work of history and moral inquiry. Chang takes great care to establish an accurate accounting of the dimensions of the violence." —Chicago Tribune
"Chang reminds us that however blinding the atrocities in Nanking may be, they are not forgettable—at least not without peril to civilization itself." —The Detroit News
"A story that Chang recovers with raw urgency...an important step towards recognition of this tragedy." —San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Rana Mitterand#8217;s brilliant new book, Forgotten Ally: Chinaand#8217;s War with Japan, 1937-1945, makes an important and moving contribution to the historical record by illuminating the largely forgotten war that took the lives of millions of Chinese, yet ultimately facilitated the rise of modern China." -- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
"Superb." and#8212; New York Times Book Review
"Important and compelling . . . Closely examin[es] Beijing's role in the Allied war effort, the heavy and often thankless price paid by the Chinese in their fight against Japan, and the impact of China's wartime traumas on the country's postwar development. . . . Fascinating." and#8212; Wall Street Journal
"Powerful . . . Mitter excels . . . in placing China's wartime experience in a robustly international framework. . . . General readers curious to learn more about Chinese history should welcome any new book by Mitter." and#8212; Daily Beast
and#160; "Rana Mitter's history of the Sino-Japanese War . . . is a major contribution to the one aspect of the Second World War of which we know far too little, and should know much more if we are to understand the new superpower today. It is a model of clarity and good writing." and#8212; Antony Beevor, Times (UK) and#160;
"Restor[es] a vital part of the wartime narrative to its rightful place. . . . A remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitterand#8217;s debt. . . . No one could ask for a better guide." - Richard Overy, Guardianand#160; (London)
"The best narrative of that long-ago war, whose effects still linger in China today." - Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectatorand#160; (London)
"Illuminating and meticulously researched. . . . It is the voice of the Chinese [. . .] that gives the distinctive tone to Mitterand#8217;s narrative. From the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek to those of national journalists and middle-class Chinese fleeing the conflict, these first-person observations are woven skillfully into his chronicle of the battles and struggles."and#160; -The Economist
and#160; "Forgotten Ally is a breathtaking chronicle of Chinaand#8217;s war with Japan from 1937 to 1945, a major theater of World War II whose story most Western readers have never heard in full -- certainly not as Mitter interprets it here. Authoritative and epic, pulsing with life, this is a grand vision of Chinaand#8217;s transformation through the cataclysm of war in the twentieth century." -- Stephen R. Platt, author of Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom and#160; "Gripping...He shows that...the east Asian conflict shaped both the outcomes of the second world war and the development of the postwar world." - The Observer and#160;
"An important, timely contribution to shedding light where there is currently much darkness... Mitter and#8217;s book demonstrates why to this day the Chinese view Japan with such animosity." -- The Financial Times
"Mitter has done an important service both in pulling together the complex narrative threads of this period and in reminding readers of Chinaand#8217;s vital and largely neglected contribution to the Allied war effort... Mitterand#8217;s excellent history tells us why we need to remember it." -- The New Statesman
and#160; "Rana Mitter has written a masterly account of the war, which blends wide deep scholarship with an accessible narrative...Mitter's great achievement is to have encompassed a multi-faceted story in a readable, coherent and gripping manner" - Jonathan Fenby, The Times and#160; "This monumental new work by Oxford University professor Rana Mitter magisterially surveys this conflict, the broader repercussions of which still resonate across East Asia." -- South China Morning Post and#160; "For decades, argues Rana Mitter in his superb new book, western readers have known too little about China's suffering....Mitter offers a lucid and moving account of the conflict's staggering military tragedies. But it is also a first-rate political and social history if China's wartime years....Mitter's elegant, rigorous and balanced account is an ideal guide to traumas that continue to cast a long shadow over the region." -- TheTelegraph and#160; "This gripping political history not only provides a detailed scholarly account of the Sino-Japanese War but also, in a prologue, offers an admirably succinct introduction to the political history of China in the first half of the twentieth century . . . A story of heroic and determined resistance . . . enlivened by extracts from the writing of Chinese people who endured the war." -- Delia Davin, Observer (UK) and#160; "A masterly account . . . Blends wide, deep scholarship with an accessible narrative that includes an admirable focus on [the warand#8217;s] effects on ordinary people . . . Mitterand#8217;s great achievement is to have encompassed a multi-faceted story in a readable, coherent, and gripping manner that should rescue this horrific conflict from the neglect it has suffered in the West and explain why history lives on in East Asia." -- Jonathan Fenby, Times (UK) "Mitterand#8217;s narrative and#233;lan, in the manner of David McCullough, creates a complex history that is urgently alive. An important, well-told tale of China at war." -- Kirkus "An important and compelling history of China's World War II experience...Mr. Mitter's book gives China its historical due." -- The Wall Street Journal
"Mitter gathers a generation of research and debate to weave new insights into a sweeping panorama...This is cutting-edge history, and thereand#8217;s scarcely a dull page. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal, starred
and#8220;This is the best study of China's war with Japan (1937-1945) written in any language. It is comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and objective. For anyone interested in how China helped shape today's world, this is a must-read.and#8221; and#8212; Akira Iriye, Charles Warren Professor of History (emeritus), Harvard University
"Forgotten Ally...deserves to be read by anyone interested in China, World War II and the future of Chinaand#8217;s relations with the rest of the world...Mitter masterfully constructs these interlocking stories of battles, famines, massacres, diplomacy and intrigue...Excellent book."and#8212; Washington Post
"[Mitter] writes with rare objectivity on subjects that remain controversial today, and his illustrations are both poignant and pertinent...Forgotten Ally is must reading for anyone seeking a full perspective on the Pacific war."-- The Washington Times
"Mitter applies historical empathy to yield fresh insights into the situations of all the actors in the horrific conflict that the Chinese call the War of Resistance Against Japan." -- Foreign Affairs
In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered—a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written what will surely be the definitive history of this horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an unlikely hero whom Chang calls the "Oskar Schindler of China" and who worked tirelessly to protect the innocent and publicize the horror. More than just narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape of Nanking analyzes the militaristic culture that fostered in the Japanese soldiers a total disregard for human life. Finally, it tells the appalling story: about how the advent of the Cold War led to a concerted effort on the part of the West and even the Chinese to stifle open discussion of this atrocity. Indeed, Chang characterizes this conspiracy of silence, that persists to this day, as "a second rape."
In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres occurred. The Japanese army swept into the the city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenceless city but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 civilians.
The epic, untold story of Chinaand#8217;s devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan in World War II.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-283) and index.
About the Author
Iris Chang’s numerous honors include the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation’s Program on Peace and International Cooperation Award. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is also the author of the bestselling The Rape of Nanking, available from Penguin.
Table of Contents
Prologue: City on Fireand#8194;1
Part I: The Path to Warand#8194;25
and#160; 1.and#160;As Close as Lips and Teeth: Chinaand#8217;s Fall, Japanand#8217;s Riseand#8194;27
and#160; 2.and#160;A New Revolutionand#8194;43
and#160; 3.and#160;The Path to Confrontationand#8194;56
Part II: Disasterand#8194;77
and#160; 4.and#160;Thirty-seven Days in Summer: The Outbreak of Warand#8194;79
and#160; 5.and#160;The Battle for Shanghaiand#8194;98
and#160; 6.and#160;Refugees and Resistanceand#8194;109
and#160; 7.and#160;Massacre at Nanjingand#8194;124
and#160; 8.and#160;The Battle of Taierzhuangand#8194;145
and#160; 9.and#160;The Deadly Riverand#8194;157
Part III: Resisting Aloneand#8194;171
and#160; 10.and#160;and#8220;A sort of wartime normaland#8221;and#8194;173
and#160; 11.and#160;Flight into the Unknownand#8194;197
and#160; 12.and#160;The Road to Pearl Harborand#8194;211
Part IV: The Poisoned Allianceand#8194;237
and#160; 13.and#160;Destination Burmaand#8194;239
and#160; 14.and#160;Hunger in Henanand#8194;263
and#160; 15.and#160;States of Terrorand#8194;280
and#160; 16.and#160;Conference at Cairoand#8194;296
and#160; 17.and#160;One War, Two Frontsand#8194;315
and#160; 18.and#160;Showdown with Stilwelland#8194;335
and#160; 19.and#160;Unexpected Victoryand#8194;345
Epilogue: The Enduring Warand#8194;365