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Honorable Survivor: Mao's China, McCarthy's America, and the Persecution of John S. Service Hardcover – October 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

a remarkable story...also offers breathtaking insights for diplomats and students of history alike, into the realities of the process of national policymaking, including the terrible toll exacted by egotism, miscommunictation, prejudice, turf warfare and plain ignorance. As such, the book is full of timely lessons--not the least being the critical value of quality Foreign Service political reporting. --Susan Brady Maitra, Foreign Service Journal

About the Author

Lynne Joiner is an award-winning broadcast journalist, news anchor, and documentary filmmaker. Her work has included assignments for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, Christian Science Monitor Radio, Newsweek, and L.A. Times Magazine. She is currently a news consultant for Shanghai International Television. She lives in San Francisco, CA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159114423X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591144236
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Frank W. Sheeman on October 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend Honorable Survivor. The last time I lost this much sleep over a book it was Red October. Lynne Joiner wrote a great novel. Except it's history. When I took history in high school it was boredom incarnate. I guess Lynne didn't take that class. I have spent time in China and was immediately able to connect with the story she tells. I knew pieces of it but have never had the opportunity to see it all come together - and she does a great job of bringing all the pieces together. The only problem with making a movie out of John Service's life would be trying to fit this story into so short a time. Last thought: there are few novelists who could create so complex a plot. This book should solve about a third of your Christmas gift list.
Disclosure: I met Lynne Joiner in Shanghai when I was running a business there in the 90's. I think I am on her friends list. I know she spent much of the past decade on this book. It was worth the wait.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seldom does the reader have an opportunity to enjoy a rousing good spy caper, a haunting story of forbidden love and learn important lessons in modern history under the same book cover. HONORABLE SURVIVOR: MAO'S CHINA, McCARTHY'S AMERICA AND THE PERSECUTION OF JOHN S. SERVICE delivers on all three counts and then some, as author Lynne Joiner takes us down the road of intrigue, betrayal and abused political power. It's an informative journey for anyone the least bit concerned about U.S. forign policy as it exists today and great reading entertainment for everyone else. Which only raises the question of who they're going to get to play the title role in the movie. Hank Schoepp, Las Vegas, NV.
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Format: Hardcover
Lynne Joiner has put her heart and soul and considerable intelligence into this book. She has written a book that delivers a story that is timely and timeless. It's an important book on an important topic. And, not to be overlooked, it is highly reaadable.

There is much to praise about Honorable Survivor. Ultimately what makes the book so satisfying is that it combines multiple elements. It is obviously the story of man. But it is also the story of a time. And the conflict of people, ideas, ideologies and countries.

History is full of drama, but too often history books are dry. Honorable Survivor is full of drama and nuance.

Highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is both masterfully written and immaculately researched. Easy to read, it is nonetheless a compelling biography and work of geopolitical history. Anyone with an interest in China, its relationship with the United States, the Second World War, the Cold War or history generally will find this book both fascinating and enjoyable. I came away with a much deeper insight into America's involvement in China during World War II, its dealings with Mao and the opportunities lost when the US myopically wed itself to Chiang Kai-shek's regime. Lynne Joiner's sympathetic, but by no means uncritical, narrative of John Service's life, career, tribulations and character is a major work of non-fiction.
Dr. Paul Vout, former Chief Representative in China of Blake Dawson International Lawyers
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been outstandingly researched and reads like a novel. It is more than a biography of John S. Service, it also a story of China during World War II, of the United States after the war, of the first person to be the victim of the cold war and McCarthyism, of his personal life and loves. It reminds us of the choices made by American administrations after WWII which led to our fighting two wars on the continent of Asia which might well have been unnecessary had we shown less panic and more wisdom in the period 1945-1954. It is good to be reminded of these times, as we may well be entering a time where many of the mistakes of that period are may be repeated with equally dire consequences. John S. Service was accused of having 'lost' China: who will bE equally foolishly accused of having 'lost' Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq in the months and years to come. Robert E. Gomperts, Glen Allen, Virginia
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John Service was a U.S. Foreign Service officer who traveled through China on dangerous missions during and after WW 11. Unlike armchair decision makers he was in the field to observe conditions and to interview the important people whose actions would change events. He believed that Chiang Kai-shek did not have the support of the Chinese people whereas Mao Zedong did have their support. He predicted that Mao would win. This prediction and many other evaluations did not agree with the fantasy world that was inhabited by Senator McCarthy and his fellow travelers. For some reason the McCarthy group decided that they would blame Mr. Service and other diplomats for the "loss of China". This gained traction with the public and was used as a way for the Republican Party to try to blame the Democratic party for the rise of communism. The demagogues were successful in preventing decisions from being based on reality. The results have been tragic.
Ms. Joiner reviews many of the "what ifs?" a rational approach with China could have done. The book covers a complex and amazingly interesting time and presents it in a clear, concise way.

The demagogues will be back and they will be successful if the public does not have reliable information. You cannot have a healthy democracy if people are misinformed, and there are many cable channels,radio stations,web sites and newspapers that are avid providers of misinformation.
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