The China Mirage: The Hidden History ofAmerican Disaster in Asia

James D. Bradley

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The China Mirage: The Hidden History ofAmerican Disaster in Asia

The China Mirage The Hidden History ofAmerican Disaster in Asia Bradley is sharp and rueful and a voice for a seasoned constructive vision of our international relations with East Asia Christian Science MonitorJames Bradley introduces us to the prominent America

  • Title: The China Mirage: The Hidden History ofAmerican Disaster in Asia
  • Author: James D. Bradley
  • ISBN: 9780316196680
  • Page: 423
  • Format: Paperback
  • Bradley is sharp and rueful, and a voice for a seasoned, constructive vision of our international relations with East Asia Christian Science MonitorJames Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans including FDR s grandfather, Warren Delano who in the 1800s made their fortunes in the China opium trade Meanwhile, American missionaries sought a myth noble Bradley is sharp and rueful, and a voice for a seasoned, constructive vision of our international relations with East Asia Christian Science MonitorJames Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans including FDR s grandfather, Warren Delano who in the 1800s made their fortunes in the China opium trade Meanwhile, American missionaries sought a myth noble Chinese peasants eager to Westernize.The media propagated this mirage, and FDR believed that supporting Chiang Kai shek would make China America s best friend in Asia But Chiang was on his way out and when Mao Zedong instead came to power, Americans were shocked, wondering how we had lost China From the 1850s to the origins of the Vietnam War, Bradley reveals how American misconceptions about China have distorted our policies and led to the avoidable deaths of millions The China Mirage dynamically explores the troubled history that still defines U.S Chinese relations today.

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      423 James D. Bradley
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    One thought on “The China Mirage: The Hidden History ofAmerican Disaster in Asia

    1. Pamela on said:

      The China Mirage: an enlightening and thought-provoking book, going behind the chimera curtain of Asian/American relations in search of truth. This is the sort of historical/political expose that every American citizen should take time to read and comparatively ponder, thinking not to repeat war-inducing, blind sighted mistakes of the past that could (and did) leave crippling/rippling national, regional, and global effects. “A Lie gets around the world before the truth has a chance to get its [...]

    2. Stefan Fergus on said:

      An aggravating, if valuable book. Bradley has improved since Imperial Cruise, but his continuing grudge against the Roosevelt family colours and weakens the narrative he is presenting. This is not to excuse the narrow minded, arrogant and feckless policies the two administrations could produce (on China, they were legion). A laudable focus in later chapters on the expelled China Hands, especially Service and Stilwell. A trove of further reading suggestions, and some very good, valuable content. [...]

    3. Mal Warwick on said:

      One of the conspiracy theories popular on the Far Right is that Franklin D. Roosevelt engineered the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to ensnare the US in World War II. Like so many Right-Wing fantasies, this story is nearly 180 degrees distant from the truth. (OK, many Left-Wing fantasies are, too.)The power of the China LobbyAs James Bradley makes clear in The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia, FDR steadfastly resisted the aggressive, well-funded campaign of the Chin [...]

    4. Ralphz on said:

      Coming in, I wanted to really like this book. I was unsuccessful.The China Mirage (get used to that term, Bradley uses it a lot) is pretty close to a screed. Bradley documents U.S. fascination with China, and implies that if not for that, World War II with Japan would not have been fought. Never mind that the Japanese had drawn up plans to fight the U.S which they found necessary, back in the 30s.This book is about the opening of China, and how it was a ruse and disastrous and that nothing good [...]

    5. Yang Chu on said:

      I've long placed Chiang Kai Shek--along with Mao and Cixi--as the incompetent triumvirate that made China the mess it is today; I've also long been confounded by Taiwanese and Americans who fail to recognize Chiang for the damn fool he was. After reading this book, that disconnect finally makes sense. This book also helps me realize I'm not simply a grump for thinking most US China Watchers are charlatans and most DC politicians making China decisions are clueless, in fact that has been the sad [...]

    6. Alan on said:

      The glowing reviews aside, this is a somewhat shallow book. Worthy of note, though is the importance and relative inaccessibility for readers of Opium Wars and Russo Japanese and First Sion Japanese War. The Boxer Rebellion is more published. Yes, Delano family got its money from opium trade. Liquor, guns, slaves, tobacco, shady land deals, and luxury egret feathers, whalebone, and fur are behind a bunch of "aristocratic" American families. If you are shocked, you need to read a little outside t [...]

    7. Craig Fiebig on said:

      I was fascinated by the author's observation that every US failure of policy in China, the Pacific or Asia was rooted in the Harvard-educated advisor sitting at the presidents elbow. That's quite a track record. Still, this book is replete with so many historical errors that I have to question either veracity of the author's research or his intellectual integrity. He completely misunderstands the sources of the Korean War, mischaracterizing it as a small, local, civil war. The record of discussi [...]

    8. Chris on said:

      A book that will change your fundamental assumptions about the world we live in. It's a revelation in some respects. Bradley makes the case that Vietnam and Korea wouldn't have happened if we hadn't been hoodwinked by Japanese and Chinese propagandists and our own racial biases towards Asia. It all started with the Roosevelts. Teddy Roosevelt created the monster that was Japan and FDR refused to listen to reality about Chiang Kai-Shek. At the center of it all is Harvard University with all the d [...]

    9. John (JP) on said:

      A mirage is something that appears real or possible but is not in fact so. This is main premise of this book as in reviews and analyzes our interaction and interventions in China. The western powers primarily Britain, and America, tried to force open China's markets and chose their leaders. Evangelicals saw China as a ripe mission field. They believed with a little effort the Chinese would become card carrying Christians complete with western values. The fact that a few Chinese converted was the [...]

    10. Elizabeth Reichow on said:

      I agree that this is an easy to follow account of Mr. Bradley's interpretation of events. It inspired me to read more on the topic. However, I wouldn't want to give credit to crazy McCarthy when he says this would be an epic fraud on the American people. Definitely need more research before I can have an informed opinion.

    11. Sarah (A French Girl) on said:

      An excellent book that I would recommend to everybody interested in the relationship between the USA and Asia. The reason why this book is receiving "only" three stars is because I felt like Bradley was too taken with his own narrative. I doubt that all the Washington elite protected Chiang and the Chinese lobby just because of a mirage. Rather, I surmise that all of them, including FDR got a cut of the trillions of dollars freely given on behalf the Chinese lobby cause. Obviously, it's harder t [...]

    12. victor harris on said:

      After a somewhat disjointed beginning where you sort out the cast of characters, it picks up momentum and shows how American misperceptions about China and Chiang steered America on a collision course with Japan. (A Mirage, if you will.) Now it certainly could be argued that Japan's expansionist tastes were insatiable and a clash was inevitable, but for the context of this review, the author's view will be addressed.According to this narrative, the "China Lobby" represented by Luce at "Time" mag [...]

    13. Marshall on said:

      There should be a warning placed on all government buildings urging US policy makers to stop trying to export the American way of life elsewhere. This practice, responsible for some of worst policy failures in this and previous century inevitably leads to failure. Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, and now in this book, China.James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers, lays out who lost China and like the culprit in Murder on the Orient Express, it is everyone. First there are the great fortu [...]

    14. Joel on said:

      (Note: I received a free copy of this book through First Reads.)There's a lot of interesting history in this book, which analyzes the ways in which American misunderstandings and lack of knowledge about China and Japan led the country into arguably unnecessary wars. The largest focus is on American support, beginning in the 1920s, for Chiang Kai-shek and his family, who were able to present themselves to America as modern, enlightened rulers who wished to Westernize China; the American governme [...]

    15. R J Mckay on said:

      I received this book from in exchange for a review.Beginning with the Opium trade in the early 1800’s, followed closely by the missionaries who went to Asia to ‘save’ the pagans, the China that the Americans saw was very different from the one that really existed.James Bradley’s book ‘The China Mirage’ revealed the true history between China and the United States. It exposed how many of the wealthy in America really gained their wealth. It also explained the skewed view many of thes [...]

    16. Mary on said:

      I loathed this book until about half-way through because it was more like a long, opinionated op-ed by a writer whose main literary tool is snark. Which surprised the heck out of me; Bradley has rec'd good reviews. Still, I was glad I read it: there was a lot of information about WWII in the Pacific theater that I'd never heard of - the bombing of Tokyo, for example, which (suggested by Bradley) had a death toll exceeding Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined (not confirmed by a quick Google search). [...]

    17. Holly on said:

      This book was interesting. It was the kind of book that doesn't call to you to read it, but when you get into the content is good and you find yourself surprised you weren't excited to pick it up again at first. Bradely pretty much vilifies everyone. Everyone was out to cause the mirage. I wonder what he would have done given the perspective of the time. He seems to be pretty confident he would do much better by Asia. I am not sure that I buy it. I think he has some very deep seated opinions and [...]

    18. Craig MacIntosh on said:

      Having read previous two books of Bradley's: Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers, I was expecting something more from him about the infamous "China Lobby" in American politics. He had interesting takes on Chiang, the Soong sisters, Henry Luce and Claire Chennault. Bradley swings a broad ax when going after the manipulations of the generalissimo and his American dupescluding FDR. It's apparent Bradley doesn't think much of American missionaries or the Soong dynasty. Fair enough. But readers be forew [...]

    19. Rick Cote on said:

      This book opened my eyes to how one influential Chinese family lobbying roughly 10 or so purportedly highly intelligent Ivy Leaguers allowed them to make a colossal miscalculation. The 19th century history lesson on China & the US leading up to the mistake is eye opening as well as fascinating. Millions perished needlessly in the Pacific, mainland China, Korea and finally Vietnam as a result of manipulated decision making by our "best & brightest."Not having a great knowledge of Chinese [...]

    20. Brent on said:

      This fine, readable summary of the relationship between the United States and China is an important summary, in that our nation has been very wrong in our understanding of China for a very long time.If you ever read David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest, you get how this affected the Asian wars in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. The story is well told here, with historical perspective from several generations, including both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, the China lobby, and the old China hands [...]

    21. Connie on said:

      Full review to follow shortly - but wow, great book! Had no idea about this chapter in American History, though reminds me of "mirages" still being sold today via media and politicians. Quite scary how easy it is to pull the wool over people's eyes even in the face of reality. Thank you to and the publisher for the complimentary copy via the "First Reads" program. A more thoughtful review to come.

    22. JW on said:

      Bradley has some kind of bug up his you-know-what and if I had the patience I might finish this screed to find out what it is. Unfortunately he's more interested in repeating certain viewpoints he's decided are facts in the hopes of burning them into his readers' brains. I'm all for alternative interpretations of history if they're presented fairly. Bradley doesn't do that. He draws a conclusion and repeats it over and over and over. Enough.

    23. Candice on said:

      This book just wasnt for me. It was so slow moving. It took foreverrrr for me to get through. Its well written. Its interesting. But meh seriously just meh. It is defeintly the kind of thing that people who watch the History channel would like. I am just not the intended audience here. I won this book in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

    24. Suzanne Volpe on said:

      Well written and easy to follow book regarding US relations with China from the 1830's to post World War II. Highly recommend. It's a eye opener regarding foreign relations and how that is relayed to the public.

    25. Riley on said:

      A good lesson on how our assumptions about other societies are so often based more on fiction than reality. American foreign policy is replete with those misunderstandings, but our approach to China in the Mao-era is a prime example of it.

    26. Pam Read on said:

      Shocking but defensible premise - that the ill-informed attitudes of the presidents Roosevelt were in significant part responsible for - catalysts for - a sequence of events including our war with Japan and subsequent, related conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.

    27. Laszlo on said:

      We need this kind of history, to understand our future! Thanks! !!

    28. Deborah on said:

      Excellent book, well researched and organized. Gave me a completely new perspective on our history with the nations of the Far East. Will be doing some follow-up reading on Stimson and Acheson.

    29. Karen Sandness on said:

      Having been fascinated by East Asia all my life, having devoted my professional life to Japan as an academic and translator, having studied the Chinese language and having visited both Taiwan and the PRC, I'm probably more knowledgeable about China than the average American, and yet I learned things from this book.Who knew, for example, that the "fine old families" of New England made part of their fortunes by smuggling opium into China against the express wishes of the Imperial Chinese governme [...]

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