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The China Mirage

The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


"Bradley is sharp and rueful, and a voice for a more seasoned, constructive vision of our international relations with East Asia." --Christian Science Monitor
James Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans--including FDR's grandfather, Warren Delano--who in the 1800s made their fortunes in the China opium trade. Meanwhile, American missionaries sought a myth: noble Chinese peasants eager to Westernize.

The media propagated this mirage, and FDR believed that supporting Chiang Kai-shek would make China America's best friend in Asia. But Chiang was on his way out and when Mao Zedong instead came to power, Americans were shocked, wondering how we had "lost China."

From the 1850s to the origins of the Vietnam War, Bradley reveals how American misconceptions about China have distorted our policies and led to the avoidable deaths of millions. The China Mirage dynamically explores the troubled history that still defines U.S.-Chinese relations today.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 09, 2015 – 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.

Customer Reviews


This book is religiously racist

Best book on China

Best book I've read about China ever. My favorite history book in years. Read it.

China Mirage

B-52's in 1945 bombing Japan? Makes me wonder what other information in this book is in doubt.

The China Mirage
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Asia
  • Published: Apr 21, 2015
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 432 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 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.

Customer Ratings