The China Mission: George Marshall's Unfinished War, 1945-1947

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$28.95  $26.92
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.3 X 1.9 inches | 1.85 pounds

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About the Author

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan is the executive editor of Foreign Affairs. He previously served in the US State Department as a member of the secretary of state's Policy Planning Staff. His reportage and analysis have appeared in publications including the New York Times and The New Yorker.


America has always sought to convert rather than understand China, whether to Christianity or capitalism. In this brilliant historical study, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan focuses on the pivotal moment of misunderstanding between these two very different countries. As a bonus, he provides a beautifully written portrait of George Marshall, a statesman of such integrity that he seems as far removed from Washington, D.C., today as would an ancient Roman.--Fareed Zakaria, CNN host and author of The Post-American World
The best character study of Marshall I've yet seen. He comes alive here as in nothing else that's been written about him. A major achievement.--John Lewis Gaddis, author of George F. Kennan and professor of history, Yale University
Was America's greatest statesman to blame for America's greatest diplomatic failure? In this wonderfully written book, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan sheds a bright light on a crucial but dimly understood chapter in US foreign policy. His portrait of Marshall is a model of empathetic but clear-eyed biography.--Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff and coauthor of The Wise Men
An outstanding book on a very important subject: how to use American power judiciously and effectively in a rapidly changing world.--Odd Arne Westad, S. T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations, Harvard University
Kurtz-Phelan has written a marvelous narrative about General George Marshall's valiant effort to bring Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong together at the end of WW II. But apart from the engrossing China saga, what makes this books so absorbing - and sometimes even even touching - is that it draws the reader into the life of a truly great American, reminding us of a different time in America's odyssey when a sense of modesty, service to mankind, and duty to country were enthroned and esteemed.--Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations
This deeply researched, gripping account is enhanced by the author's striking portrayals of [Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek]....[A] page-turning narrative of an important chapter in Cold War history.
The story Kurtz-Phelan tells is a gripping one [and] does a splendid job of delineating Marshall's evolving relationships. ... an enormous contribution to our understanding of Marshall.--John Pomfret
[A] compelling portrait of a remarkable soldier and statesman, and an instructive lesson in the limits of American power, even at its zenith.
The China Mission has much to teach us about both the past and future of American leadership--and about what individual leadership means in the face of hard choices. I have rarely read such a vivid account of how diplomacy really works.--Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state