THE VOICE OF ASIA by James A. Michener


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While some of this material appeared in the Herald Tribune and in Life, the presentation here is so integrated, so focussed to the central theme, that one feels only a sense of use of the same sources, methods of interviewing, and coverage. It is an exciting and a courageous book- an important book for anyone who is concerned (and aren't we all?) with the pattern of what Robert Payne calls "Red Storm Over Asia" in his book of that title (see P. 83 for report). It is a heartening book, too, for it disabuses the reader of some illusions, catch phrases, assumptions about Asia and Asiatics, and leaves a sense of intelligence at work, of aspirations, faith, integrity, determination. Michener has covered all major trouble areas, with the exception of China, and in most of the places visited, he talked- and listened- to people, not to officials, not to voices of authority, but largely to the natives who feel that the future is in their hands. The white man is through. For the time being. What we do before pulling out determines when and how we can come back. The enmity towards the white man is much of it our own fault. Michener does not feel that it is so deeply integrated that it can permanently offset the earlier contributions we had made. England has proved that in the way she withdrew from India, in the way she is handling her one remaining bit of colonial empire, Malaya, and in the crown colony of Hongkong; France and the Netherlands quite the reverse. Korea has perhaps not saved but postponed the swalowing up of southeast Asia- and though the devastation is being counted against us today, the basic principle is not wholly ignored. In variety of viewpoints, in coordination and commentary and summation, Michener shares a rich and challenging experience, and makes of each episode a gem of narration and characterization. Creative journalism, which goes to the heart of the matter.
Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1951
ISBN: 1125203625
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1951


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