Zbigniew Brzezinski: Americaâs Grand Strategist | War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence | The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War | On Grand Strategy | The Return of Marco Polo's World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-first Century | The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s | A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949
A spellbinding narrative of the high-stakes mission that changed the course of America, China, and global politicsâand a rich portrait of the towering, complex figure who carried it out.
As World War II came to an end, General George Marshall was renowned as the architect of Allied victory. Set to retire, he instead accepted what he thought was a final missionâthis time not to win a war, but to stop one. Across the Pacific, conflict between Chinese Nationalists and Communists threatened to suck in the United States and escalate into revolution. His assignment was to broker a peace, build a Chinese democracy, and prevent a Communist takeover, all while staving off World War III.
In his thirteen months in China, Marshall journeyed across battle-scarred landscapes, grappled with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and plotted and argued with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his brilliant wife, often over card games or cocktails. The results at first seemed miraculous. But as they started to come apart, Marshall was faced with a wrenching choice. Its consequences would define the rest of his career, as the secretary of state who launched the Marshall Plan and set the standard for American leadership, and the shape of the Cold War and the US-China relationship for decades to come. It would also help spark one of the darkest turns in American civic life, as Marshall and the mission became a first prominent target of McCarthyism, and the question of âwho lost Chinaâ roiled American politics.
The China Mission traces this neglected turning point and forgotten interlude in a heroic careerâa story of not just diplomatic wrangling and guerrilla warfare, but also intricate spycraft and charismatic personalities. Drawing on eyewitness accounts both personal and official, it offers a richly detailed, gripping, close-up, and often surprising view of the central figures of the timeâfrom Marshall, Mao, and Chiang to Eisenhower, Truman, and MacArthurâas they stood face-to-face and struggled to make history, with consequences and lessons that echo today.
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