China Hand

  • by Harry Homewood
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1937 the United States still suffered in the Great Depression, as did most of the world. For the US Navy, that meant restricted budgets - and the Asiatic Fleet, on the far side of the world, out of sight of the navy's commanders and the American public, was at the bottom of the list for the navy's limited resources. Bobby MacPherson, seaman second class, only 17 years old and freshly graduated from radio operator school, was naively excited by his assignment to the submarine S-37 stationed with the Asiatic Fleet. The exotic places providing bases for the American Navy - Manila, Shanghai, Tsingtao - and their strange cultures, histories, and people engaged his driving curiosity and sharp mind. His outstanding athletic ability and his earnest integrity made him popular with his crewmates and officers. All of those qualities drew Bobby into a dangerous and malicious plot against the American forces in Asia, a plot involving nearly all of the competing powers in China - General Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, Mao Tse-tung's Communists, the Imperial Japanese military occupiers of China, warlords, and ancient, powerful families who considered themselves the true rulers of China.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Period Piece

Seemed more a story of two cultures than a sub story. I enjoyed it although it was not quite what I expected.
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- Stuart Munson

China Sailor

I thought I had read all of Homewood’s books. But, somehow, I missed this one. Homewood wrote a trilogy called Silent Wars about submarines in WWII plus a number of stand-alone submarine stories.

This book takes place in 1937 and the Navy is still suffering from budget restrictions. Our protagonist is Bobby MacPherson, a seaman 2nd Class just out of radio operator school. Bobby is just seventeen years old and was all excited about being assigned to Submarine S-37 with the Asiatic Fleet. Bobby travels to exotic places but find himself caught up in a plot involving all the key powers in Asia at the time. It is interesting to watch how the spies slowly work to achieve Bobby’s trust before they try to extract information from him. Do they succeed? You will have to read the book to find out.

The book is well written. It is a historical fiction novel but is based on the author’s experiences as a submariner in the 1930s Asiatic Fleet. Therefore, the naval part of the story is very realistic as is the descriptions of the various city ports such as Shanghai. The story is average. But what makes the story is the realistic description of life on a pre-World War Two submarine.

The book is just over nine hours long. Joe Barrett does an excellent job narrating the book. I have listened to Barrett narrate many books over the years and have always enjoyed listening to him. Barrett is a multi-award-winning audiobook narrator.
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- Jean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-28-2017
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio