MY TWENTY FIVE YEARS IN CHINA by John B. Powell

MY TWENTY FIVE YEARS IN CHINA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a serious and important book, a permanent contribution to our better understanding of China during long years of her struggle to become a republic and a democracy. Only secondarily is it Powell's personal story. As editor of China Weekly Review, later as correspondent for the Manchester Guardian and the Chicago Tribune his assignments, self-assigned, led him into practically the center of every important event in China of those twenty five years which ended with his imprisonment by the Japanese. The book this constitutes a meticulously fair history -- pros and cons presented factually where controversial issues are involved. For the most part he is extra-ordinarily objective though in final analysis, his sympathies would seem to be weighted on the side of the Kuomintang and against the Communists. He presents convincing evidence -- necessarily not current -- to support his conclusions. He succeeds in giving one a sense of Chinese modern history in the making, occasionally highlighted and lightened by pen portraits of leading figures in Chinese life. There is very little personal story; the two exceptions are the story of his share in the famous bandit move kidnapping, and his experiences in Bridge House Prison and Kiangwang. The last third of the book, dealing with Japanese infiltration and the Sino-Japanese war, is openly critical of our State Department vacilations, fostered by the advice of Ambassadors Grew and Johnson, and he is soathing in his comments on his chief's convictions that China was already Japanese and no longer ""news"" -- a statement on the part of McGormick that resulted in his resignation. The details of Japanese occupation of Shanghai reveal facts in specific detail related to reorganization and deliberate debauchery of the Chinese civilian that I have soon only briefly suggested elsewhere...Not popularized history; not dramatic nor exciting reading; but a sober contribution and a rewarding book.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1945
ISBN: 1406739901
Publisher: Macmillan