Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune

Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune

by Lawrence M. Kaplan
     
 

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As a five-feet-three-inch hunchback who weighed about 100 pounds, Homer Lea (1876--1912), was an unlikely candidate for life on the battlefield, yet he became a world-renowned military hero. Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune paints a revealing portrait of a diminutive yet determined man who never earned his valor on the field of battle, but left an

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Overview

As a five-feet-three-inch hunchback who weighed about 100 pounds, Homer Lea (1876--1912), was an unlikely candidate for life on the battlefield, yet he became a world-renowned military hero. Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune paints a revealing portrait of a diminutive yet determined man who never earned his valor on the field of battle, but left an indelible mark on his times.

Lawrence M. Kaplan draws from extensive research to illuminate the life of a "man of mystery," while also yielding a clearer understanding of the early twentieth-century Chinese underground reform and revolutionary movements. Lea's career began in the inner circles of a powerful Chinese movement in San Francisco that led him to a generalship during the Boxer Rebellion. Fixated with commanding his own Chinese army, Lea's inflated aspirations were almost always dashed by reality. Although he never achieved the leadership role for which he strived, he became a trusted advisor to revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Manchu Dynasty.

As an author, Lea garnered fame for two books on geopolitics: The Valor of Ignorance, which examined weaknesses in the American defenses and included dire warnings of an impending Japanese-American war, and The Day of the Saxon, which predicted the decline of the British Empire. More than a character study, Homer Lea provides insight into the establishment and execution of underground reform and revolutionary movements within U.S. immigrant communities and in southern China, as well as early twentieth-century geopolitical thought.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

""The five-foot-three-inch hunchback who only weighed 100 pounds and dropped out of Stanford College managed to convince high-ranking Chinese officials that he was not only a military expert but also the relative of the famous Confederate General Robert E. Lee. With his proclamation he found himself poised on the brink of immense change in the Chinese government."-- Military Review" --

""A full biography of a... western military dreamer with grand designs for China."-- Diplomat & International Canada" --

""An extraordinary contribution to the history of American-Chinese relations and the book belongs to libraries worldwide."--Center for Research of Geopolitics" --

""This book is probably as thorough a recounting of Lea's life as there will ever be."-- Journal of America's Military Past" --

""His documentation is thorough, and he supplements the text with unique and supporting color plates from both family and personal collections."-- Military Review" --

""An interesting, sometimes, amusing read, Homer Lea is particularly valuable in reminding us that clandestine international political networks and military organizations are not new developments."-- NYMAS" --

""Now largely forgotten, Homer Lea, from the late 1890s until his death in 1912 at a few days short of age 36, played a significant role in China's access to the highest political circles on three continents and responsibility for recruiting and training some 2,000 young Chinese-American men to serve as officers for the cause."-- New York Military Affairs Symposium Review" --

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813126166
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
09/15/2010
Series:
American Warriors Series
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

Mac Coffman
An excellent biography of a largely forgotten extraordinary man. Despite ill health throughout his 35 years, Lea served briefly as a general in the Chinese Army and was Sun Yat Sen's military advisor. He became famous because of his book in 1909 about a future war with the United States that Japan would initiate with a surprise attack. Three years later, in another book, he predicted that Germany and Russia would be major threats to Britain and the United States. His fascinating life is well told in this biography. (Mac Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars)
From the Publisher

""An excellent biography of a largely forgotten extraordinary man. Despite ill health throughout his 35 years, Lea served briefly as a general in the Chinese Army and was Sun Yat Sen's military advisor. He became famous because of his book in 1909 about a future war with the United States that Japan would initiate with a surprise attack. Three years later, in another book, he predicted that Germany and Russia would be major threats to Britain and the United States. His fascinating life is well told in this biography." -- Mac Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars" --

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Meet the Author

Lawrence M. Kaplan is the historian for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

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