Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45

  • by Barbara W. Tuchman
  • Narrated by Pam Ward
  • 29 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this Pulitzer Prize - winning biography, Barbara Tuchman explores American relations with China through the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe", Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of the National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story."Joseph Stilwell was the military attaché to China from 1935 to 1939, commander of United States forces, and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek from 1942 to 1944. His story unfolds against the background of China's history, from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China's Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents.

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What the Critics Say

"The most interesting and informative book on U.S.-China relations...a brilliant, lucid and authentic account." (The Nation)
"Barbara Tuchman's best book...so large in scope, so crammed with information, so clear in exposition, so assured in tone that one is tempted to say it is not a book but an education." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A period that directly affected our world today

I have always been interested in China and find Barbara Tuchman's books on historic moments excellent. This one did not disappoint. She painted a fair portrait of Stilwell. Clearly she liked him, but she did not cover up his flaws - particularly those that impacted his work in China. The most fascinating part of the story covers the WWII period, but the earlier time periods cast useful illumination on the events. Chiang Kai Shek does not come off very well, but the Americans, including Stilwell, did not truly understand him or the Chinese viewpoint with regard to many things. Mme. Chiang, whose Western outlook was better understood, was mostly responsible for the level of backing the Americans gave to the Kuomintang.

I found this book well worth the time. For those who are interested in how fairly recent history has shaped our modern world, this book is strongly recommended.
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- Charlotte

Tuchman great, narrator Ward a delight

If you could sum up Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 in three words, what would they be?

Great historical story-telling.


What did you like best about this story?

The central character, Joe Stilwell


Which scene was your favorite?

Any time he was speaking truth to power


If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

God, send us more of such men


Any additional comments?

Barbara Tuchman is a gifted teller of history, as everyone familiar with her work knows. But the narrator, identified by Audible as Pam Ward, who I think narrated Tuchman's Guns of August, is a perfect reader. Too often, narrators' voices, habits of speech, lack of interest and over-acting make Audible's books hard to listen to. Ms. Ward combines clear interpretive reading with just enough acting. She

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- Bruce Nichols

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-27-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.