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Reviews 61 corruption, particularly in large-scale public construction projects, and this has made social and economic reform extremely difficult. While Taiwan's record in the past four decades still ranks among the best in the post-war era, political and economic developments in recent years have somewhat tarnished the "Taiwan Miracle." Had the cutting-offdate of the study been extended five more years, some of the book's conclusions might have been different . Not all good things come together. There are apparent trade-offs between rapid growth and other policy goals such as equity and stability. Despite this criticism, the book contains valuable insights into the Taiwan experience and offers an empirical test for the four prevailing approaches to development . It will certainly serve as a ready reference both to specialists on the Taiwan economy and to students ofThird World development. Chu-yuan Cheng Ball State University, Indiana m Ch'en Chieh-ju. ChiangKai-shek's SecretPast: The Memoir ofHis Second Wife, Ch'en Chieh-ju. Edited by Lloyd E. Eastman. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993. xxix, 273 pp. Hardcover $49.95. Paperback $16.95. In late 1921, Chiang Kai-shek threatened to cut offone ofhis fingers to show his undying love for a young Shanghai woman, Jennie Chen, whom he was about to wed. Six years later, he dumped her so he could marry Soong Mei-ling, and through her make a profitable connection with the Shanghai banking world. As Chiang put it (according to Chen), "I want the names ofSun, Soong, and Chiang to be linked together." And yet, he portrayed his dismissal ofher as a sacrifice for the unification ofthe country, just as earlier he had appealed to her patriotism to woo her. He may have truly believed both of these rationales: in his universe, the end justified any means. Before he got Chen out of the way by sending her to a five-year exile in the U.S., he took a vow before a Buddhist shrine—and Jennie's mother—that if he did not resume his marital relations with Jennie within ten or twenty years, "may , TT . Buddha topple my government and banish me from China forever." And so it© 1995 by Universityvv ' b ofH wa" Prcame to pass that Chiang lost the mainland and died in exile in Taiwan twenty-six years later. Chen was not there to witness his death far from his beloved Zhejiang, however, for she had passed away in Hong Kong in 1971. Truly, as the fortune 62 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 she drew at the Shih-tao (Shidao) Monastery predicted shortly after her marriage, she had been "a sapling caught in a typhoon." It is perhaps no coincidence that both of Chiang's wives (before Mme. Soong) ended up seeking solace in Buddhism. The foregoing is a mystical interpretation ofhistory, to be sure. The importance of Chen's memoir lies elsewhere, in the intimate picture of Chiang in love, in détails ofhis domestic life, and in accounts of his most unguarded moments of rage at political opponents (or anyone who stood in his way). After reading it, one can well understand why the Guomindang repeatedly tried to suppress the manuscript, when it learned ofits existence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, for Chen's account tarnishes Chiang's image. The Guomindang almost succeeded in ripping this page out ofhistory, but one copy of the memoir survived, and surfaced in the Hoover Institution collection in 1990. This memoir makes it more difficult to build up a "lacquered image" (to borrow the phrase Lyon Sharman used to describe the results ofthe Sun Yat-sen cult) of Chiang. It reveals, in the words ofhis fellow villager, a "stubborn, jealous, tactless, bad-tempered, and egotistical" man. Or, as one ofhis close friends put it, an "extremely impulsive, opinionated, and too often hot-headed" person. Not knowing how to compromise, Chiang was the sort ofman who lost friends and made enemies easily. Even while Jennie was still in love with him, she noted that he was "vindictive by nature . . . ." Possessed of an insatiable ambition to be the sole leader ofa unified China, Chiang believed himself...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 61-64
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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