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In each of his books, James Bradley has exposed the hidden truths behind America's engagement in Asia. Now comes his most engrossing work yet. Beginning in the 1850s, Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans who made their fortunes in the China opium trade. As they---good Christians all---profitably addicted millions, American missionaries arrived, promising salvation for those who adopted Western ways.
And that was just the beginning.
From drug dealer Warren Delano to his grandson Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from the port of Hong Kong to the towers of Princeton University, from the era of Appomattox to the age of the A-Bomb, THE CHINA MIRAGE explores a difficult century that defines U.S.-Chinese relations to this day.
- ISBN-13: 9780316196673
- ISBN-10: 0316196673
- Publisher: Little Brown and Company
- Publish Date: April 2015
- Page Count: 432
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-09
- Reviewer: Staff
In 2009’s The Imperial Cruise, Bradley suggested that President Teddy Roosevelt’s inept dealings with Japan in 1905 directly contributed to the decision by the Japanese to go to war with the U.S. in 1941. Here, Bradley extends the faults of the elder Roosevelt to his younger cousin, F.D.R., in regards to U.S. relations with China. The “mirage” of the book’s title was, to quote a 1930s American propaganda pamphlet, that China was “a great nation whose citizens have traditionally regarded Americans as their best friends.” Mostly using secondary sources, Bradley argues that this positive, pre-WWII view of China was false and led the U.S. into several policy errors, including the needless provocation of Japan—a U.S. embargo of Japanese steel and oil as a penalty for war with China—that precipitated Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. He also makes the valid point that the mirage prevented China experts at the State and War departments from moving the U.S. to a more realistic policy that recognized the powerful communist movement under Mao. Though Bradley’s work is insightful and entertaining, it greatly oversimplifies U.S. foreign policy towards Asia before WWII and should not be read as an authoritative study. (May)