IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES by

IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a book I had to write"", says Father Clifford, ""--as an American."" He was a Jesuit missionary in China who ""lived through three years of the most intense brainwashing in the jails of Shanghai"". He tells his story now because he has seen appalled by the reaction of many Americans, who seem to regard the psychological warfare practised by the Communists as a new mystique, against which there is no defense. He found it neither mysterious nor irresistible, and when he was finally released in 1956 it was with the comforting knowledge that he, not they, had on that interminable battle of wills and wits; he had confessed to nothing, and ad neither signed nor said anything which could be used against himself, his country, or his church. Told simply, modestly, and with powerful conviction, it a story not of overt torture or atrocity, but of an infinitely patient, thorough- going attempt ""to induce an artificial psychosis"" not merely through threats and ribery, but by manipulating hope, guilt, gratitude, indeed the whole range of normal human responses. He defeated this attempt by turning their own tactics against them, and by never budging in even the most trivial matters. Any person who knows what to expect, he maintains, can do the same, a heartening affirmation.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1963
Publisher: Norton