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Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937 - 1945 | [Rana Mitter]

Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937 - 1945

For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China two full years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.
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Publisher's Summary

The epic, untold story of China's devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan.

For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China two full years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.

Rana Mitter focuses his gripping narrative on three towering leaders: Chiang Kai-shek, the politically gifted but tragically flawed head of China's Nationalist government; Mao Zedong, the Communists' fiery ideological stalwart, seen here at the beginning of his epochal career; and the lesser-known Wang Jingwei, who collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet state in occupied China. Drawing on Chinese archives that have only been unsealed in the past 10 years, he brings to vivid new life such characters as Chiang's American chief of staff, the unforgettable "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and such horrific events as the Rape of Nanking and the bombing of China's wartime capital, Chongqing. Throughout, Forgotten Ally shows how the Chinese people played an essential role in the wider war effort, at great political and personal sacrifice.

Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of World War II, yet it also offers surprising insights into contemporary China. No 20th-century event was as crucial in shaping China's worldview, and no one can understand China, and its relationship with America today, without this definitive work.

©2013 Rana Mitter (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Rhea Fort Worth, TX, United States 10-11-13
    Rhea Fort Worth, TX, United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2013

    short, fat, and stupid.

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    "The ill fated chang kai-shek"

    As I believe that I am the first person to write a review on this fast moving account of the china's war of resistance I feel that it is necessary to proclaim how valuable this book is for the WWII buff. Most people are aware of the fact that China was involved in the war but they are not aware to what extent. China in fact was the first theater of WWII and experienced some of the first and most brutal communal war crimes of the war. This book is some what biased towards the Nationalist point of view and that of Chang Kai-Shek in particular. However it explains the communist point of view as well. After reading-listening to this book I came away with a feeling that the communists let the Nationalist camp bare the brunt of all the fighting while waiting for the war to end. Having saved its forces for the upcoming civil war the Communists were better poised to fight then the badly beat National forces. Thus leading to the current communist government in Bejing. As you might be able to tell I was left with a bad taste with the actions of the communist forces durring the battle for Chinas fight for survival. I would suggest this book to any one who was either interested sino-american relations or just WWII it's self.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 01-22-14
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 01-22-14 Member Since 2009

    Acteon

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    "A big missing piece"
    What made the experience of listening to Forgotten Ally the most enjoyable?

    Discovering things that put much into perspective: China's situation in the 20th century and its evolution, Japan's invasion of China and China's war of resistance, the relationship between the Kuomingtang and the communists (Russian and Chinese), the relationship between western countries and Asia a few decades ago, the character of the much maligned Chiang Kai-shek and the enormous difficulties he faced, how American views of China were formed.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, he is generally quite good. His pronunciation of Chinese words is mostly OK (recognizable, which is already better than what I've heard from certain professors specializing in Asia or even China).


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes....not much of the former though I'm afraid.


    Any additional comments?

    A must for anyone who wants to understand 20th century history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 02-06-14
    Lewis Weston, CT, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Enlightening and Interesting"

    All I've ever really focused on in the past regarding WW2 is America vs the Nazi's in Europe and against the Japanese in Asia. This book deals with the events leading up to our involvement in China and establishes the underpinnings for what has evolved into current day China and Taiwan. Other than trying to understand all of the players involved in this story it was a great historical saga!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney Florida 01-23-14
    Rodney Florida 01-23-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Bland"

    The concept of this book is interesting - I've read well over a hundred WWII books and I love learning about events from the opposing point of view. A great example of this is Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy - it tells the story leading up to Pearl Harbor from the Japanese point of view - it's well written, extremely interesting and tells a story without inserting opinion.

    On the other side you have this book. It's not written very well, it's written from a stand point that all white people are bad and the book is quite contradictory. For example the book constantly complains about how the "white" powers won't assist the Chinese as much as they would like, while also mentioning how corrupt and inept the Chinese leadership is (which is the reason given by the "white" powers on why they won't give more assistance).

    Also the author clearly is a socialist and goes out of their way to excuse the actions of the communists whenever possible.

    So that's the down side.

    The good side is that the book covers a lot of new ground and while I would triple check any facts given out in the book at least you're learning new stuff, even if it's only in general terms. For that reason I'll give the book 3 stars. If the subject matter had been approached by someone with less of a bias and was more historical and less opinionated it could be a four star book, and if it was written better it could be a five start book.

    The reader does an acceptable job - nothing special but nothing bad.

    Overall the book is worth getting if you're interested in the time period as there are extremely limited options available on Audible. However know what you're getting isn't a great book or even a good book - but it will have to do until a good or great book comes along.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
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