Catalogue

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Distorted mirrors : Americans and their relations with Russia and China in the twentieth century /
Donald E. Davis, Eugene P. Trani.
imprint
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c2009.
description
xxix, 461 p.
ISBN
0826218539 (alk. paper), 9780826218537 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c2009.
isbn
0826218539 (alk. paper)
9780826218537 (alk. paper)
contents note
pt. 1. Russia -- "Soviet Sam" and the émigrés -- The boys from Riga -- Assignment in Utopia -- Honeymooners -- Chums -- Mr. X -- Gray eminence -- pt. 2. China -- Missionary diplomacy -- Pragmatist in China -- Red star over China -- The novelist and the ambassador -- The president and the generalissimo -- Luce's man in Chungking -- Gurus -- Old conclusions, new beginnings.
abstract
"Drawing on memoirs, archives, and interviews, Davis and Trani trace American prejudice toward Russia and China by focusing on the views of influential writers and politicians over the course of the twentieth century, showing where American images originated and how they evolved"--Provided by publisher.
catalogue key
6850927
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-12-01:
Historians Davis (emer., Illinois State Univ.) and Trani (Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) deal with a fascinating question: why have Americans often viewed Russia negatively and China positively? Their answer--this 500-page book--is quite a treat. The authors obviously did not set out to offer a definitive book on US relations with Russia and China, as they do not describe the "real" Russia and China (if they ever existed). The authors trace Americans' perceptions of Russia and China throughout the 20th century, starting with two adventurers in the late 19th century: George Kennan and William Rockhill. The book is often more interesting (or is stronger) when the authors focus on the first half of the 20th century, and they do a great job of helping readers navigate the origins of the different perceptions. Some data are quite innovative, although the authors could have relied a little less on memoirs and more on original sources. However, they should be applauded for their lucid, often elegant, writing style, which makes reading this big book a fun experience; college professors will certainly appreciate it. An indispensable text for those studying and teaching US foreign policies and, of course, Russia and China. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. Li Columbia University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2009
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Drawing on memoirs, archives, and interviews, Davis and Trani trace American prejudice toward Russia and China by focusing on the views of influential writers and politicians over the course of the twentieth century, showing where American images originated and how they evolved.
Library of Congress Summary
"Drawing on memoirs, archives, and interviews, Davis and Trani trace American prejudice toward Russia and China by focusing on the views of influential writers and politicians over the course of the twentieth century, showing where American images originated and how they evolved"--Provided by publisher.
Main Description
As the United States enters the twenty-first century, it confronts two powers that loomed less large on the world stage a century before. Yet American policies toward Russia and China have been shaped by attitudes going back even further, as this new book relates. Distorted Mirrorstraces American prejudices toward the two countries by focusing on the views of influential writers and politicians over the course of the twentieth century. Donald Davis and Eugene Trani show where American images of Russia and China originated, how they evolved, and how they have often helped sustain foreign policies generally negative toward the former and positive toward the latter. This wide-ranging survey draws on memoirs, archives, and interviews, much the material appearing in print for the first time, to show how influential individuals shaped these perceptions and policies based on what they saw-or thought they saw-in those two countries. Through a series of tableaux that traces America’s relations with Russia and China through the twentieth century, the authors show how personalities of certain players impacted interpretation of key situations and conflicts and how cultural attitudes toward Russia and China became ingrained and difficult to dislodge. The book traces formative attitudes back to two late-nineteenth-century books, with George Kennan’s Siberia and the Exile Systempainting a grim picture of tsarist penal colonies and William Rockhill’s Land of the Lamasdepicting China as an exotic Shangri-la. Davis and Trani show how these images were sustained over the years: for Russia, by Slavic expert Samuel Harper, State Department official Robert Kelley, journalist Eugene Lyons, ambassador William Bullitt, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and policymakers George F. Kennan and Paul Nitze; and for China, by President Woodrow Wilson, philosopher John Dewey, journalist Edgar Snow, novelist Pearl S. Buck, ambassador Nelson T. Johnson, FDR, journalist Theodore White, and statesman Henry Kissinger. They also relate how Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush tried to replace these misconceptions with a policy of accommodation, and they assess the state of current U.S. attitudes and policies. Distorted Mirrorsmarks a fresh approach to U.S. relations with these countries, emphasizing long-term attitudes that influenced policies rather than the reverse. It shows us that perceptions shaped over the course of the twentieth century are crucial for their bearing on the twenty-first, particularly if those unrestrained prejudices reemerge.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Foreword to the Russian Edition by Vyacheslav Nikonovp. xv
Prefacep. xxi
Acknowledgmentsp. xxix
Introduction: Distortions in the Looking Glassp. 1
Russia
"Soviet Sam" and the Emigresp. 13
The Boys from Rigap. 34
Assignment in Utopiap. 58
Honeymoonersp. 80
Chumsp. 104
Mr. Xp. 129
Gray Eminencep. 153
China
Missionary Diplomacyp. 179
Pragmatist in Chinap. 201
Red Star over Chinap. 223
The Novelist and the Ambassadorp. 245
The President and the Generalissimop. 268
Luce's Man in Chungkingp. 290
Gurusp. 315
Old Conclusions, New Beginningsp. 341
Afterwordp. 353
Notesp. 359
Bibliographyp. 419
Indexp. 447
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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