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קּ digital ᅫ A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949 ᐔ Author Kevin Peraino ᖖ

קּ digital ᅫ A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949  ᐔ Author Kevin Peraino ᖖ קּ digital ᅫ A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949 ᐔ Author Kevin Peraino ᖖ This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof Copyright 2017 Kevin PerainoPROLOGUE October 1, 1949, Beijing Bodies jostled, elbow to elbow, angling all morning for a spot in the square Soldiers clomped in the coldtanned, singing as they marched, steel helmets and bayonets under the October sun Tanks moved in columns two by two then howitzers, teams of ponies, gunners shouldering mortars and bazookas On the flagstones, in front of the imperial gate, men and women craned their necks toward a platform above a portrait of Mao Zedong, painted in hues of blue, hanging beside tubes of blue neon Underneath, a sprinkling of yellow streamers rippled in the crowd Nearly everything else in the frenzied square was red.Shortly after three p.m., a tall figure in a dark woolen suit stepped up to a bank of microphones atop the gate He lifted a sheet of folded paper, pursed his lips, and glanced down at a column of Chinese characters A double chin rested against his collar heavy jowls had long since submerged his cheekbones Although Mao was still only in his mid fifties, he was not in good health He rarely went to bed before dawn For years he had punished his body with a masochistic regimen of stewed pork, tobacco, and barbiturates Occasionally, overcome by a spell of dizziness, he would suddenly staggerone symptom of the circulatory condition that his doctors called angioneurosis Still, he had retained into middle age what one acquaintance described as a kind of solid elemental vitalitya kinetic magnetism that photographs could never quite manage to convey.On this day, Maos speech, delivered in his piping Hunanese, was nothing particularly memorable a few lines praising the heroes of the revolution and damning the British and American imperialists and their stooges But the celebration that followed, marking the birth of the Peoples Republic of China, was a cathartic spectacle Mao pressed a button, the signal to raise the flagyellow stars against a field of crimsonand a band broke into March of the Volunteers, the new national anthem, with its surging chorus of Arise, arise, arise An artillery battery erupted in salute a formation of fighter jets slashed across the sky.The sun set, and the party went on fireworks raced toward their peaks, rockets of white flamethen fell, smoldering but harmless, into crowds of giddy children Red gossamer banners billowed in the evening breeze, undulating like enormous jellyfish to one witness, the British poet William Empson, they possessed a kind of weird intimate emotive effect Lines of paraders hoisted torches topped with flaming rags others carried lanterns crafted from red papersome shaped like stars, some like cubes, lit from within by candles or bicycle lamps Slowly, singing, the glowing procession bled out into the city.Among the marchers was a boy of sixteen, Chen Yong He held a small red flickering cube He had been twelve years old when he joined Maos army, though he had looked even youngera year or two, at least He had studied Morse code, one of the few jobs for a boy his age, then joined a unit that fought its way through Manchuria As the long civil war was coming to a close, Chens father had thrown his boy back in school But on this night no one was studying The war was over Mao had won Chen carried his lantern into the dark.Nearly seven decades after this celebratory light show, I visited Chen Yong at his home in Beijing, an unfussy apartment block in one of the citys western neighborhoods Chen was now in his early eighties his hair had gone white, and a gauzy beard descended from his chin In his hand, trembling slightly, he clutched a pair of eyeglasses One inflamed eyelid was nearly closed a furtive intensity had replaced the calm flat gaze of his teenage years.One of my favorite parts of researching this booka yearlong chronicle of the Truman Administrations response to Maos victory in 1949was the opportunity to spend time with some of the remaining eyewitnesses to the pivotal events of those dramatic twelve months There are fewer and fewer survivors left some of the key figures have been dead for four decades and The rest are elderly, their memories fading fast In telling this story I have generally clung to the contemporary documentsthe diaries, memoranda, letters, and news paper reports that yield the most accurate portrait of that year Still, I never passed up the opportunity to talk with those who were actually there There was something magical about these encountersa living connection to a bygone China.In the summer humidity of his apartment, Chen shuffled slowly across the concrete floor, opened a drawer in his bedside table, and pulled out a black and white photo In the picture, his younger self wore the padded gray tunic of a Chinese Communist soldiercinched hopefully at the waist, a size or two big for his teenage frame As we talked, the emotion of that year seemed as present as it might have been seventy years ago at one point he quietly began to sing one of his old marching songs Yet when I pressed him on the granular details of his experiences, he was often at a loss He would narrow his eyes, looking straight at me, and say with frustration, Its hard to remember Still, when I asked him how often he thought back to the events of that year, he said, Pretty much all the time And that, of course, is the great paradox of growing old the less we can remember, the time we spend remembering.As with people, so with nations even as the survivors of the revolution are disappearing, Chinese leaders are spending time trying to recall that era Chinas current president, Xi Jinping, said shortly after he took power that he considered revolutionary history the best nutrient for a nation making its ascent as a great power After years of de Maoification in the 1980s, Chinas leadership now consciously seeks to reprise some of Maos best known political themes When modern Chinese statesmen look to the past, they gravitate not to the lunacy of the Great Leap Forward, Maos reckless attempt to transform Chinas agricultural economy, nor to the depredations of the Cultural Revolution, the fevered campaign to solidify Maos rule in the late 1960s and early 1970s by mobilizing Chinas disaffected youth Rather, todays Chinese leaders celebrate the triumphs of 1949, with all their emotional reverberations Among other tributes, Xis government recently inaugurated a new holiday, called Martyrs Day, to be held each September 30 the date in 1949 that Chinese leaders broke ground on a major national monument in Beijing.The China of today remains filled with mementos of 1949 On a recent spring morning, I took a day trip from Beijing to Xibaipo, one of the rural base camps that Mao had occupied at the beginning of the year, as his armies prepared to complete their conquest of the mainland Once a bone jarring voyage across pitted roads, today it is a painless four hour drive along superhighways flanked by thick hanging trees Although the weather in Beijing had been unusually sunny and smog free, the sky grew hazier as we traveled southwest, into Chinas industrial heartland Out the windows, flashes of the new China whizzed by sand pits, smokestacks, solar panels, power lines, chewed hills that looked as if they had been eaten by a cosmic scale monster And yet in other ways, an older China was with us still On the dashboard of his Ford sedan, my taxi driver had placed a slick white bust of Mao that said, on its pedestal, safe and sound.In Xibaipo, now a stark but bustling tourist town, we passed a restaurant called Red Memory and an information center selling trinkets emblazoned with portraits of Mao and Xi Jinping Farther in, we arrived at a complex of low slung, dun colored bungalows marked with placards written in Chinese and Russian Wandering beside the pear and locust trees, visitors paid five yuan to sit in a replica of Maos can vas folding chair for a little , twenty yuan, they could pose for a photo behind an embankment of sandbags, wearing an old army uniform and hoisting a rifle The site, according to a member of the staff, had actually been moved slightly from its original location, to make way for a reservoir But nobody seemed to mind On this morning the museum was crowded with tourists filing past glass cases filled with relics of the revolution.Yet there is another, darker side to this sort of remembrance Maos victory in 1949 provoked a reaction across the Pacific by the end of the year, the United States had extended its policy of containing Communism, once limited primarily to Europe, to Asia as well The Truman Administration crafted an ambitious planincluding a series of covert operationsto bolster the nations along Chinas periphery Even as Mao consolidated his control over the mainland, American opera tors quietly slipped cash and weapons to his enemies These historical events, too, inform Chinese views about the present, as the nation continues its fitful rise Anxious Chinese officials see todays American policy as a sequel to the containment strategy hatched in 1949 They fret over American troop deployments and training missions to East Asia, and they suspiciously eye flashpoints like Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan for evidence of modern American perfidy.That narrative of 1949a combination of triumph mixed with grievanceoverlooks a great deal In reality, American policy makers battled fiercely with one another as they struggled to shape a response to Maos victory Some wanted to engage him others wanted to con front him still others wanted to ignore him completely In between existed a thousand shades of nuance These disputes were not simply tactical differences of opinion they reflected profound disagreements about the nature of the American relationship with China and revealed fault lines in the American character itself They destroyed careers, reduced a cabinet member to tears, and in the decades that followed gave rise to some of Americas most divisive foreign wars, in Korea and Vietnam The most disconcerting thing is that these fissuresthough now largely hiddenstill exist Each approach is fueled by its own self deceptions, its own brand of remembering and forgetting.There is no obvious antidote to all this historical make believe It is not a matter of simply setting out the facts the stories we tell our selves about China are too freighted with emotion to be chased away so easily Still, by slipping into the participants skins and looking at the dilemmas of 1949 through their eyes, we can begin to share some of their fears and thrillsand ultimately purge some of our own anxieties and misconceptions In other words, the only cure for a runaway story is another story.This one begins aboard an airplane, with a glamorous woman pre paring for a fight. New York Times Book ReviewEditors Choice Winner of the 2018 Truman Book AwardPerainos absorbing study of the pivotal year in Chinese American relations when Mao Zedongs Chinese Communist Party came to power shows how decisions made then have continued to affect relations between the two countries up to the present day The New York Times Book Review The intimate, blow by blow reconstruction of the story offers a vivid sense of what it must have been like for American policy makers as they grappledwith the rapidly deteriorating situation in China.Capture s a critical moment in the founding of what is today the most important bilateral relationship in the world The Wall Street Journal China is likely to be the most significant force in the global life of the 21st century, a prospect that makes Kevin Peraino s lucid and compelling new book all the relevant By reconstructing the Truman reaction to the fall of Nationalist China and the rise of Mao, Peraino takes us back to the beginning of the journey This book is excellent history that informs the headlines of today JonMeacham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Destiny and Power Kevin Peraino has written a compelling narrative about the dramatic events of 1949, when Mao s armies defeated Chiang Kai shek and Truman had to decide what to do about it In this well researched and well crafted book, he tells us about Mao s calculations and about the arguments in Washington events that would determine U.S policy in Asiafor the next thirty years Frances FitzGerald, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Fire in the Lake Just now, when Americans are again trying to make sense of China, a new look at the postwar roots of U.S Chinese relations could not be timely And arivetinglook this is, filled with charismatic individuals, dramatic moments and fraught decisions that still shape our world today H.W Brands, author of The General vs the President As China looms ever larger as America s global rival, it is hard to remember or even imagine a time when America was said to have lost China The time was 1949, and Kevin Peraino takes us there with vividness and immediacy, a sure hand and a clear eye This is narrative history at its most compelling Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon Nineteen forty nine was a transformative year in world affairs, and KevinPeraino splendidly captures its significance and the larger than life personalitiesthat made things happen An important book, and a great read George C Herring, author of The American Century and Beyond A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949

 

    • A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949
    • 2.2
    • 136
    • Format Kindle
    • 400 pages
    • 0307887243
    • Kevin Peraino
    • Anglais
    • 23 December 2016

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