American Images of China, 1931-1949 Review

American Images of China, 1931-1949
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American Images of China, 1931-1949 ReviewHenry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines was the son of a China missionary and he used his special expertise and prejudices to influence American attitudes and policy toward China. Americans have long had an affinity for China that they do not, for example, have for India or Japan. The author demonstrates that American attitudes toward China were often mistaken, idealizing Generalisimo and Madame Chiang -- good-solid Methodists and with a Golden Retriever at their feet as they sat companionably on a Western couch. China, the author maintains, was an extension of the Western frontier in the eyes of the missionaries and a country ripe for Americanization and Christianity. Truth had difficulty breaking through.
Well, this is pretty well-plowed ground and American misconceptions of foreign countries have been pretty common. Whatever the mistakes of Luce and others in looking at China through rosy glasses they were not as far off base as those who extolled the virtues of the Soviet Union and Stalin during these same years.
The author does a good job making his point but this is a book of a type: academic, over-priced, 200 pages long, and well-researched and documented with extensive footnotes and a good bibliography. Why can't the many books of this type -- with limited sales potential -- simply be published on the web and be available to everyone free? It's not as if the author is going to lose a fortune in royalties. This book ranks around number two million on the Amazon list of best sellers.
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