Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–45

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What to expect

In this Pulitzer Prize–winning biography, Barbara Tuchman explores American relations with China through the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed “Vinegar Joe,” Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of the National Review, “one of the historian’s most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story.”

Joseph Stilwell was the military attaché to China in 1935 to 1939, commander of United States forces, and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942–44. His story unfolds against the background of China’s history, from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China’s Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents.

Critics Review

  • “A fantastic and complex story finely told.”

    New York Times Book Review
  • “Barbara Tuchman’s best book…so large in scope, so crammed with information, so clear in exposition, so assured in tone that one is tempted to say it is not a book but an education.”

    New Yorker
  • Stilwell performs one of the historian’s most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story.”

    National Review
  • “The most interesting and informative book on US-China relations…a brilliant, lucid and authentic account.”

    Nation
  • “Pam Ward is certainly listenable during this lengthy history of American relations with China through the end of WWII…Tuchman is the most articulate and nuanced of popular historians, and this biography of ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell, head of American forces in China during WWII, is a thorough critique of American policy in China and of the Chiang Kai-shek regime.”

    AudioFile

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