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Chasing the Dragon: A Veteran Journalist's Firsthand Account of the 1949 Chinese Revolution

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In 1949 the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, and Eastern Europe had arranged itself into a constellation of communist satellite states, when China - the world’s most populous nation - succumbed to what seemed to be an insurmountable tide of Communist successes. Dumbfounded, America wanted to know, “Who lost China?”
Roy Rowan was one of only two living American journalists who covered the fall of China, and in Chasing the Dragon, he recounts his personal experiences ...
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2004 Hard cover Illustrated. New. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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Guilford, CT 2004 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

In 1949 the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb, and Eastern Europe had arranged itself into a constellation of communist satellite states, when China - the world’s most populous nation - succumbed to what seemed to be an insurmountable tide of Communist successes. Dumbfounded, America wanted to know, “Who lost China?”
Roy Rowan was one of only two living American journalists who covered the fall of China, and in Chasing the Dragon, he recounts his personal experiences during one of modern history’s most tumultuous and significant events. Writing for Life magazine from such datelines as Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang, Taiyuan, and China’s Gettysburg—Xuzhou—he watched the horror and spectacle of the world’s oldest continuous civilization tear itself apart as Chair-man Mao Zedong’s ragtag army saturated the Chinese countryside, choked off major industrial cities, and waited for them to “fall like ripe melons.” With the fall of each city, Rowan had to plan an emergency evacuation by whatever means possible.
Through Rowan’s personal interviews and experiences we meet colorful characters such as “Big Ears Du,” the crime boss of Shanghai’s infamous Green Gang; “the Generalissimo” and his wife Madame Chiang Kai-shek, whose dulcet tones of flawless Wellesley English belied her cool ruthlessness; the irrepressible Claire Chennault of “Flying Tiger” fame; and a personal acquaintance with Zhou Enlai, who would become China’s premier under Mao Zedong.
In the decades since, Rowan has traveled back to each battlefield, and has covered China forAmerica’s premier magazines. Chasing the Dragon is his fascinating firsthand account of the tumultuous events that still continue to shape our world.
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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Shortly after being discharged from the U.S. Army after World War II, Rowan found himself in Shanghai working for the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, assigned to handle transportation problems that took him into the Chinese interior and provided him with ample evidence of the corruption of the Nationalist regime. A subsequent chance encounter with the Time-Life bureau chief in Shanghai opened the door to his lifelong dream of becoming a foreign correspondent. Rowan's account of conditions in China on the eve of the Communist victory vividly recaptures a largely forgotten world. He was in Mukden just before its fall, interviewed the Shanxi warlord Yan Xishan on the eve of his abandonment of his capital, and spent time in Beijing when it was surrounded by Communists. He dramatically tells of the Battle of Xuzhou, where a million men fiercely fought for 65 days. When Shanghai was about to fall and Chiang Kai-shek was on his way to Taiwan, Rowan was reporting on the flow of gold bullion from Chinese banks to Macao. After the Communist victory, Rowan's story continues with his years of watching China from Hong Kong and finally his return to China after President Richard Nixon's opening of relations. This is a book that will rekindle nostalgia for those who knew the old China and open new windows on Chinese realities for those who did not.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592282180
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Edition description: First edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

ROY ROWAN, a veteran author-journalist and avid fisherman, has covered the world for fifty years for Time, Life, and Fortune. He is a former president of the Overseas Press Club of America. His books include Powerful People and the national best-seller, First Dogs.
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Table of Contents

1 Stepping Stones to Shanghai 3
2 The Kingdom of Squeeze 19
3 Convoys to No-Man's-Land 41
4 Crisis in Kaifeng 59
5 Chance Encounter at the Palace 75
6 Hitching Rides to the War 89
7 Our Man in Mukden Digs In 107
8 The Last Warlord 121
9 A Turncoat Saves Beijing 133
10 The Million-Man Battle 145
11 The Gimo Flees and the Gold Follows 161
12 Talks Before the Attack 177
13 Shooting "The Last Days of Shanghai" 193
14 A Corrupt Regime's Cruel Finale 207
Epilogue 219
Acknowledgments 245
Index 247
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