I have always been interested in China and find Barbara Tuchman's books on historic moments excellent. This one did not disappoint. She painted a fair portrait of Stilwell. Clearly she liked him, but she did not cover up his flaws - particularly those that impacted his work in China. The most fascinating part of the story covers the WWII period, but the earlier time periods cast useful illumination on the events. Chiang Kai Shek does not come off very well, but the Americans, including Stilwell, did not truly understand him or the Chinese viewpoint with regard to many things. Mme. Chiang, whose Western outlook was better understood, was mostly responsible for the level of backing the Americans gave to the Kuomintang.
I found this book well worth the time. For those who are interested in how fairly recent history has shaped our modern world, this book is strongly recommended.
This story of a young Australian man and a young Dutch-Javanese woman who fall in love just before WWI and become separated soon thereafter was interesting and brought me new information on the war in the Pacific. It was told from two perspectives - his and hers - who had quite different experiences during the war. While some aspects of the storyline stretched credibility almost to the breaking point, I found myself still wanting to know what happened next. After resolving many crises in almost unbelievable ways the author leaves the final question unanswered. When I realized the book had ended, I cried "What?!"
The narrator was excellent. He managed to make the characters live through his use of accents and tone. I always knew who was speaking. I would select this narrator again without hesitation.
This is a decent listen, but I am not sure I would buy another book by this author.
The action part of this spy thriller is fast-paced while relying on unbelievable feats of physical prowess. The protagonists are cold-hearted egoists who cavalierly break all laws of humanity and decency while justifying their actions on the basis of expediency and threats not understood by the simple-minded rest of us. The book is weighed down by pompous pronouncements illustrating these beliefs. This was my first and will be my last book by this author.
While this book provided an interesting look at the Korea-American experience, it felt like a series of linked stories rather than a novel. The beginning was the most intriguing - some later chapters were almost unbelievable and it went on too long. Much of the character development seems unmotivated. The narrator made numerous mistakes in pronunciation. Doesn't anyone listen to or edit the resulting audio? It can be really distracting.
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