Strong Man of China: The Story of Chiang Kai-Shek

Strong Man of China: The Story of Chiang Kai-Shek

Strong Man of China: The Story of Chiang Kai-Shek

Strong Man of China: The Story of Chiang Kai-Shek

Excerpt

The story of China--a story more than four thousand years old--has become the tale of a single man. What that man says is his country's policy, What he does becomes his people's history.

His name is Chiang Kai-shek. He is the best known and the least known of all living Chinese. The world press headlines his name with regular frequency. He crushes a rebellion here, he averts a rebellion there. He hurls his troops against the Communists, he makes peace with the Communists. He is kidnapped, he escapes. He attempts to stave off war with Japan, he finds himself at war with Japan. And casual readers of newspapers in London and New York and Prague become vaguely aware that a Strong Man rules China, that his name is Chiang.

As one commentator has remarked, all the confusing old three-syllable names that used to index Chinese politics can now be forgotten--the names and their bearers have ceased to be of the slightest importance. In their place stands one man--a small, frail, volatile but tremendously energetic man--who oddly enough has become the alter ego of that powerful, sprawling, sleepy giant that is China.

Yet he remains, to his own countrymen no less than to the western world, a virtually unknown character. His life and career are the subjects, simultaneously, of reverent myths and too-familiar tea-house gossip. He is alternately acclaimed a saint and hero and denounced as brute and . . .

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