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Honorable Survivor

Mao's China, McCarthy's America and the Persecution of John S. Service

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Honorable Survivor weaves John S. Service's extraordinary story into the fabric of a watershed moment in our history when World War II was ending, the Cold War was dawning, and the McCarthy era witch-hunters were stirring. The book reveals how people, policy, and politics mix to create the circumstances of our lives--and the experiences of one man who came to be at the center of a series of extraordinary events involving the fate of nations. A true story of intrigue, adventure, persecution, and redemption and the love of a loyal American wife and a Chinese lover, this biography chronicles the experiences of John S. Service. Emmy award-winning journalist Lynne Joiner tells the tale of Service, an idealistic U.S. Foreign Service officer in wartime China who had the misfortune of often being right although U.S. policymakers refused to heed his prescient reporting. He predicted Mao Tse-tung's successful revolution long before anyone else even knew the Chinese Communists were a potent force, and, subsequently, he became Sen. Joseph McCarthy's first victim. The author describes how Service was fired for doubtful loyalty--but won his job back in the U.S. Supreme Court, only to have his career neutralized by the FBI, anti-Communist politicians, the China lobby, and Chiang Kai-shek's secret police. Born and raised in China by YMCA missionaries, Service became America's key liaison with the Communist Chinese when Gen. Joseph Stilwell wanted their help against the Japanese. Later, he became a target of revenge for Nationalist Chinese, a convenient scapegoat for American politicians eager to advance their careers, and a person of interest to J. Edgar Hoover for more than a quarter century. Joiner was given special access to Service's private papers and photographs with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, among others, and gained access to FBI, CIA, and State Department security records as well as confidential transcripts of congressional hearings and federal loyalty review boards. Although newly released Soviet and U.S. documents demonstrate that some of his wartime associates were in fact identified as Communist spies or fellow travelers, Joiner shows that Service was an honorable survivor who was innocent of McCarthy's charges.
Winner of the 2010 Douglas Dillon Award from the American Academy
of Diplomacy for a book of distinction on the practice of American diplomacy.

Customer Reviews

History isn't supposed to be this easy.

I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend Honorable Survivor. The last time I lost this much sleep over a book it was Red October. Lynne Joiner wrote a great novel. Except it's history. When I took history in high school it was boredom incarnate. I guess Lynne didn't take that class. I have spent time in China and was immediately able to connect with the story she tells. I knew pieces of it but have never had the opportunity to see it all come together - and she does a great job of bringing all the pieces together. The only problem with making a movie out of John Service's life would be trying to fit this story into so short a time. Last thought: there are few novelists who could create so complex a plot. This book should solve about a third of your Christmas gift list.
Disclosure: I met Lynne Joiner in Shanghai when I was running a business there in the 90's. I think I am on her friends list. I know she spent much of the past decade on this book. It was worth the wait.

Honorable Survivor
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  • $37.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Jun 02, 2011
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 450 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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