Monday, June 15, 2015

Sneak Preview

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia, by James Bradley

I am just finishing this book, the second I have read by Bradley.  The first, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, was a very worthwhile read.  I offered two posts from the book.  The first regarding US colonialism in the Pacific, and specifically the Philippines; the second regarding the US greenlighting of Japanese militarism against Korea and China.

The current book offers the history of the US role in China, beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing to and through the Second World War.  It is a story ranging from the opium that secured the wealth for some of the most prominent families in America to missionary zeal to the woman behind the throne to the value of propaganda to the real leader of China.

I still have no clear view regarding how I will present this book: as a one-post overview or several posts offering greater detail.  If several posts, how will I organize these?  One thing is certain: Bradley offers dozens of important dates and events that will be added to my Timeline To War.

By now, you must be wondering…why is bionic bothering me with any of this?  I will tell you: while I still don’t know how I will present the book, one story begs for individual, stand-alone treatment: the backstory (as Bradley tells it) regarding Pearl Harbor.

This isn’t that post either, but I don’t want to contaminate that post with this background.  However, I feel it worthwhile to present the background.  In the meantime, I will offer one clue as to Bradley’s view on the Pearl Harbor backstory (emphasis added):

This is the story of how a few of these officials surreptitiously outmaneuvered and undermined the president of the United States and thrust America into an unwanted Asian war.  My father and millions of others fought in a conflict that didn’t have to happen, a war that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was trying to avoid, one that could have been prevented or delayed if some overconfident administration officials had heeded their president instead of the China Lobby.

The post should be available in the coming days.


  1. Look forward to it.

    I also have some doubts about Roosevelt in relationship to pushing the US toward war, it is true that several decisions seemed to have been done by lower officials, but Roosevelt never reigned them in or reversed policy.

    So up to now I have gone with the idea that Roosevelt was pulling the strings and was just trying to avoid responsibility and scrutiny. But I will be interested in how you see it.

    1. Here you go: