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The China Mirage

The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia
Narrated by: Pete Larkin
Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.73

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, and The Imperial Cruise, a spellbinding history of turbulent US-China relations from the nineteenth century to World War II and Mao's ascent.

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 US-Chinese relations to this day.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 James Bradley (P)2015 Hachette Audio

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Investigative history at its best

Examining and explaining the roots of U.S. ignorance of Asia and the resulting countless, and seemingly inexplicable, foreign policy blunders and misjudged (and criminal) military misadventures. Brings so many loose historical threads together in thoroughly entertaining and original narrative. It's jam packed with detail spanning American foreign policy through the 19th and 20th century. A read that will bring me back a few times I suspect. Thanks

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  • Ben Nelson
  • 13-07-2016

A must read/hear

Hard to stop listening as myths were debunked with credible facts presented in detail making the book easy listening.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Antony Dayal
  • 22-08-2018

180 degrees

Thought provoking, challenges what you thought you knew about Americas wars in Asia. Highly recommended

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Majestic
  • 16-02-2018

Very informative

I found the content compelling to change my view of history as it relates to the current relationship we have with China over the last 140 years. Sometimes the book went into too much detail for the story to flow well, however I am happy that I bought the book and it was worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Donald Hill
  • 31-05-2018

Gross Negligence!

I was intrigued by the first part of this book. The first insight was about Japan’s back door policy with the U.S. This is in regard to Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize for negotiating a peace settlement between Japan and Russia, with Japan being the puppet master and the Nobel Academy knowing nothing about Japan’s secret role in getting T. Roosevelt involved in the negotiation process of the Russo-Japanese peace settlement after the breakout of war in 1904.
Another intriguing insight from the book was the story of Henry Luce, the founder of Time Magazine. The most interesting part of this was the facts the author laid out with stories printed in Time Magazine that were fabricated during the 30’s and 40’s. We can now attest to the fact that “Time” never changes. They continue to pass opinion off as fact.
However, even with those two neatly told stories does not add up to Mr. Bradley’s crumbling thesis of this book. This is why I cannot in good conscience provide a decent rating for this book. The conclusions are absurd! I am not a history professor. But I am an avid reader. I listened to or read over 120 books in the past two-and-a-half years. At least one-fourth of them have to do with the World War II era. So in my lifetime, I can say that I have read at least 100 books connected to this era of history, so I am not ill-informed.
The thesis deals with three things that strike me as gross negligence in writing on a subject of this sort.
1. Bradley claims that the USA would never have had to go to war with Japan if Franklin D. Roosevelt’s underlings would not have stabbed him in the back and stopped selling oil to the Japanese. He seems to posture that all we had to do is feed the Japanese war machine with oil to take over much of Asia and all would have been fine. Seriously, I am not making this up! There was practically no mention of the Japanese “Rape of Nanking”, in 1937. What about the horrific deeds the Japanese did to the populations in Asia during the expansion of territory during the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
2. Chiang Kai-shek bad guy; Mao Zedong good guy… what? I am not making this up! This is the cornerstone of Bradley thesis of the book. He speaks of how Mao was such a great leader and how horrible Chiang was. Look, I realize that Chiang wasn’t a great leader. But he had the backing of the China lobby. The USA is the only reason why he got any backing at all. Bradley claims that FDR totally supported both Chiang and Madam Chiang. It is a fact that Roosevelt became so enraged with some of the things that Madam Chiang said to the press that he wanted her out of the White House ASAP and sent back to China. Oh, that little fact was NEVER mentioned. Bradley picks his “facts” carefully, leaving out the ones that don’t fit the narrative.
I don’t even have time to get into the wrongdoings of Mao. The only people that see Mao as a great savior of the Chinese people is ardent communists. Then Bradley brings one of the most controversial person’s that worked in the State Department at the time, John Stewart Service. Well, the plot thickens. Of course, Mr. Bradley seemed to leave out some details of John Service’s treasonous behavior. This has been totally fact-checked with books written about the Venona decrypts (The NSA project to decrypt the messages of the Soviets during the cold war). It is a known fact that Service wasn’t just a communist sympathizer, he was a known Soviet agent. Well, none of that was ever mentioned in the book. See, the way Bradley tells the story, Service, son of a diplomat that grew up in China, was so impressed by Mao. It didn’t matter that Service didn’t follow orders by the State Department, Stewart was just trying to correct a fatal flaw in US policy, etc. It sickens me to even go on about this.
3. Here is the icing on the cake! FDR performed the disgraceful act of creating an illegal Chinese Air Force, backed by the USA, known as the Flying Tigers. OK, I have read a lot on this subject. With one swoop of the pen, we get how terrible it was for the Flying Tigers to have existed, with them helping to halt the otherwise unchecked advance of Japanese troops in China.
Mr. Bradley asks a question: If his father knew about the China lobby, which created the China Mirage, what would he have thought about this situation. After all, his father (may God rest his soul) was one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima. This account was vividly brought to life in Bradley’s book “Flags of Our Fathers”. I feel I can speculate on how his father would have responded to the thesis of this book. I am sorry to say that Mr. Bradley has lost his way as a historian, after publishing “Flags of Our Fathers”.
This book was EXTREMELY disappointing! My apologies to all service members (which includes me) that have fought and defended this great country. Keep browsing, you can do better.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jose
  • 24-03-2018

A must read for Asians and Americans

What made the experience of listening to The China Mirage the most enjoyable?

The pacing of the story and the clarity of delivery.

What did you like best about this story?

How Time / Life / Fortune has manipulated people's minds through generations by slanting the news to favor the beliefs of its founder - a tradition that is carried through by today's writers in these magazines.

Which character – as performed by Pete Larkin – was your favorite?

FDR

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How the Deep State of the time worked to favor their own interests and in so doing has changed the course of history in Asia and America.

Any additional comments?

None

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  • Steve Adams
  • 15-11-2017

À Series of American Gaffs in Asia

James Bradley’s thoughtful book on the complicated relationship between the USA and China- really the Far East- is required reading, in my opinion.

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  • By the Seashore
  • 12-08-2017

Interesting Perspective

Loved it. Well worth the listen. Provides interesting perspective on formative phases of American foreign policy.

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  • HG
  • 21-05-2018

Laughable

Whereever Bradley got his information and how he perceived it is remarkably insane. His views on Mao are absurd. Does Bradley really think Mao became a psychopathic murderer because the US spurned him. The premise and content of this book are a joke.

4 people found this helpful

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  • sharon Liu
  • 22-05-2020

Have we learned from the history?

A vivid history of America foreign policy influenced by religious lobby group did not yield expected results. Unfortunately the history was repeated itself again and again.

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  • Abu Lateef
  • 05-10-2019

An eye opener

Gives clarity to the scenes concealed behind the headlines and slanted Western and Euro centric history books.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-2019

for a Chinese like me, this book is insightful.

can't stop listening. seeing history repeating itself now between Trump administratiin and China, except China is richer now.