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.
China’s rise to world power status has changed the shape of the world. The U.S.-China bilateral relationship is arguably already the most important one for both countries and it embraces issues of global and regional security, economic prosperity, and the environment, among many others. If Americans tend to ignore history, Chinese do not. The five […]
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 […]
The Oriole’s Song is a love story — love of family, of entwined cultures, of life itself — during and after the turmoil of war. This beautiful recollection of an American girlhood in China during World War II is a continual delight with large insights and small moments made exqusite by delicate prose. On May […]
This classic account (1952) of the makers of “New Japan” tells the life stories of a journalist, an ex-Navy vice-admiral, a steel worker, a farmer, and Emperor Hirohito. Frank Gibney was a wartime intelligence officer who became Time magazine correspondent during the American Occupation of Japan. He went on to be a major interpreter of Japan to […]
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 […]