When Soong Meiling, better known to the world as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, died in October 2003, her life of over a century almost exactly paralleled America’s own century of direct involvement with Asia, which began with the acquisition of the Philippines. Alone among Western Powers, the United States championed an Open Door policy toward China. The Madame’s Christian family and her American education perfectly suited the American aspirations for a free and democratic China. And when Japan threatened both countries, the Madame, in perfect English, spoke directly to Americans as the heroic symbol of Chinese resistance. Never mind that she and her husband turned increasingly authoritarian and that the Guomindang was defeated by Chairman Mao Zedong’s communists. And never mind that she never really connected with the vast majority of Chinese living in the countryside. Today, as China is again catching up to the West in leaps and bounds, it is almost as if Soong Meiling, ending her life after a Rip Van Winkle-like retirement in the United States, is ushering in another century, when new Open Door Americans look toward China again. Here for a new generation of general readers and scholars are thoughtful reflections on the significant impact of a major twentieth-century figure who fascinated Americans for decades and had a significant impact on American perceptions of China.
About the Editor
Samuel C. Chu (1929-2013) was a Professor of History at Ohio State University.
Richard L. Williams
The year 1979 marked turning points in both contemporary Chinese history and Sino-American relations. Deng Xiaoping initiated market reforms and an opening to the global economy which would transform China, with Guangzhou (Canton) at the forefront. Washington and Beijing’s mutual diplomatic recognition triggered an across-the-board expansion of relations between the United States and China. When […]
Four Hundred Million Customers (1937) is a collection of humorous essays and piquant anecdotes underpinned by well-informed insight and highlighted by witty drawings by G. Sapojnikoff. Like a bowl of salted peanuts, these vignettes make you want “more.” The book was welcomed on its publication as the most entertaining and instructive introduction to the rapidly modernizing people […]
In the 1920s, three adventurous and determined British women missionaries traveled along the traces of China’s old Silk Road to “gossip the Gospel” in the Muslim regions of northwestern China. But as this ground-breaking biography of Mildred Cable and the sisters Eva and Francesca French illustrates, their mission service was only one aspect of these […]
This book is essential reading for any student of Burma, security in the Asia-Pacific region, China-India relations, or military and strategic priorities in Asia and the world. The key to coming to grips with modern Burma is to understand the country’s armed forces. Although it has dominated all aspects of Burmese life since the 1962 […]
Taken from journals and letters written during the final decades of the Manchu Empire and the chaotic years of revolution and civil war leading up to the War of Resistance (1937–1945), this is the story of the life and work of the Protestant missionaries who opened their first station in the upper Min River region […]
Vasilii I. Chuikov
In late 1940, General Vasilii Chuikov was sent by the Soviet government to China to serve as chief military adviser to General Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Nationalist government. China was still fighting alone against Japan after more than three years of war. It was Chuikov’s task to oversee the provision of Soviet military aid […]