It begins as a drinking club in an academic backwater on the Stanford University campus of the late 1970s. A post-Nixon/post-Mao generation of China scholars plots to make a better world. Suddenly, the US recognizes the People's Republic of China. Intense demand arises for the unique skills that the Mandarin Club members possess. Now, yesterday's dreamers are today's policy makers and pundits, patriots, and spies.
How does one arrive at a life in politics and policy? What happens to one's ideals when confronted with the reality that, in Washington, the only way to get things done is compromise? Who are the men and women who help shape our national agenda, and what drives their work? Dispatches from the Eastern Front provides fascinating, intensely personal, yet universal answers to these central questions.