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Eleven million people live on the island variously referred to as Formosa, Taiwan, or Free China. Nine of those millions are ""natives"" who, until 1945, lived under Japanese rule which, while autocratic, fostered security and prosperity unparalleled in the Orient. The Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek by the Communists brought the other two million mainland Chinese in exile, whose government has been corrupt and despotic. Formosan patriots hoped for democracy, independence, at least UN trusteeship status; Chiang gave them instead a brutal massacre, imprisonment without trial, and summary execution. The U.S., caught in the ""great dilemma"" of its cold war policies, turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. Few Americans are even aware that there is anybody on the island but ""Free Chinese,"" and the China Lobby has done all it can to perpetuate this ignorance. Thus Mr. Kerr's book deserves wide attention not only because of the authority which thirty years of involvement with his subject confers, but also because it is the only book to expose the whole truth of a critical problem. That problem is larger, even, than the plight of nine million people; it is nothing less than ""how to fulfill the awesome responsibilities of being a global power...and at the same time remain faithful to the principles that constitute our political-ethical creed."" There are no easy answers, and Mr. Kerr quite rightly does not attempt any. Recognizably an ""opinion"" book.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin