This is a book of current interest.
I have just returned from a short visit to China, my country of origin, after an absence of thirty-eight years. The last time that I was in Manchuria was in the spring of 1946. Then a junior staff officer in Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, I was with the troops pushing toward Harbin, recently evacuated by the Soviets. On the way we were blocked by Marshal Lin Biao's forces and learned firsthand and with horror what a "human sea attack" was like. Forty one years later, I finally made it to the city, this time as a guest speaker addressing a historians' convention.
In Beijing I was treated to a duck dinner by General Cheng Zihua, a hero of the Long March whose hands had both been, rather freakishly, deformed by a single rifle bullet. In Harbin I was entertained by Professor Xu Lanxu, president of Heilongjiang University. During the banquet I had the good fortune to be seated close to Mr. Zhang Xianglin, commissioner of Cultural Affairs of Heilongjiang. When I revealed to him my Kuomintang (Nationalist) background he told me that that was also the party affiliation of his elder brother. But in 1946 he himself was mobilizing the local population for the Northeast Union Democratic Army, later a part of the People's Liberation Army. Our comparing of notes about the old days went on so well that he promised to call on me during his forthcoming trip to the United States, so that we could continue. The lieutenant-governor of Heilongjiang in charge of education, Mr. Jing Baiwen, took me for a ride across town.