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Reviews 143 Hua Qingzhao. From Yalta to Panmunjom: Truman's Diplomacy and the Four Powers, 1945-1953. Foreword by John Toland. Cornell East Asia Series. Ithaca, NewYork: Cornell University East Asia Program, Cornell University, 1993. vii, 267 pp. Paperback $15.00. John Toland himselfis a skilled practitioner of the exciting craft ofproducing transcultural diplomatic history. For that reason I took special note of his effusive praise of Hua Qingzhao's From Yalta to Panmunjom. However, even tributes like "painstaking," "diligence," "new," "solid," and "illuminating" did not prepare me for Hua's riveting account of Truman's eight years from 1945 to 1953. Hua is a born storyteller. The cast of characters is given vitality by Hua's capacity to come up with a gesture, an eccentricity, or arrangment of words Aiat results in enhancing his story line with Aie Aioughts and deeds of real people. He confers depth and sharpness on his writing by placing events within historical context. Lest I be charged with extravagance, let me hasten to mention complaints. Hua's book has no index and no bibliography, and his footnotes offer insufficient critical evaluation to be of help to readers who might want to make efficient use of Hua's resources for research of their own. Is Hua's book a textbook for diplomats? Implicit in his narrative is an evaluation of the practice of diplomacy byAmericans, Chinese (from both the CCP and the KMT), British, and Russians. His guideline would seem to be that all diplomats should remember history—their own country's and also that of their adversaries . They should avoid extremes in setting goals for themselves, in choosing tactics, and in renderingjudgment as to the result of their efforts. Diplomats should respect the "system" but be alert to the need for its reform. Hua's book does not aspire to be such a manual. Instead, it is a modest exploration of available source materials by a student who seems to have been guided, from the outset, by two convictions. The first is that the Cold War did not begin with any particular event or even any particular issue. The Cold War was inevitable because of the inescapable rivalry of two superpowers whose interests and capabilities were global. Their insistence upon retaining mutually endowed powers of veto was embodied in the charter of the United Nations. All other countries thereafter were obliged to limit their options by accepting, to some extent, subordination to the merciless requirements of this confrontation of"morality" and "ideology" on a global scale. _ u TT ¦ u Hua's second conviction draws a bead, uniquely, on the United States. Hua© 1994 by Universityn ' ofHawai'iPressPuts ? mis waY: Despite its first Amendment, the U.S. Government seems to feel that it has the right to decide what non-Americans around the globe should say and believe. 144 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 Once Americans believe that others should adopt American values, understanding of other nations becomes impossible, and ignorance and insensitivity must lead to disastrous decisions on the part of the U.S. Hua shapes his story as a Chinese. However, his research materials are to an overwhelming degree American. My review of his highly instructive footnotes shows that perhaps as much as ninety percent of his information is based upon American documentation. That may, in one sense, be a pity. Nevertheless, the telling of Hua's story actually demonstrates the richness of accessible American research materials. It also confirms the extreme difficulty of preserving in perpetual secrecy anything done by Americans. Using Chinese records, Hua, in his chapter about the fighting of Aie war in Korea, demonstrates Aieir very great value. The enriched color of that one chapter should be enough to cause readers to hope that Hua is young enough and energetic enough to come back to this book after another decade or two to direct his impressive analytic skills to a treatment of Chinese, Korean , and Russian participation, as he has done so productively throughout this book using American materials and dealing with American participants. Each of Hua's chapters invites careful rereading in the company of other students of the time and events he...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 143-148
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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