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The White Mandarin Mass Market Paperback – April 12, 1984
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Top Customer Reviews
The fiction story gives a explanation of Tiananmen Square and it is SO VITAL TO your understanding because the Communist Chinese Government have paid their money to turn the Book into a movie, in China, to help explain what, from a PR viewpoint seems like a blot on their reputation about Tiananmen Square.
I have met the author and think extremely highly of him as a researcher of truth and a teller of the story of that truth.
Incidentally, I write now with MY professional name. If you search for my biography on the net, you will find my real name and the fact that I served in the Kennedy White House and consider myself a superb researcher of the truth, if not a fiction writer, but more as a writer of non fiction truth. Dan is, my opinion, also that type of researcher in addition to being a fiction writer.
On September 10,2011, I've returned to add this:
I'm almost finished reading The White Mandarin and eager to share
more of my thoughts on it.
First, it is an easy read. In the first several pages I did not
think that. It seemed full of detail (from Langley) that I wasn't
interested in and which I didn't think would be a useful part of
I then came to believe that these details about Langley were
particularly written to impact on the very few insiders in Langley
who would recognize the truth of the details, even if I didn't
note that or care.
This almost makes the Book a deliberate message to less than 100
readers -- but provides enormous impact on them.
I should jump to my main point of this review to say: There is a
new genre of book now very popular: "Truth told as fiction."
There are, of course, as many viewpoints of truth as there are
viewers, but it is also true I think that many rational persons,
without crooked viewpoints, should be able to SEE an event and
report on it with shared agreement.
I haven't lived in China and have no personal viewpoint of China,
but I certainly got a viewpoint from this Book, even if from a
White Mandarin's persona.
Many of the sections which may seem dull? are actually wonderful
word pictures of the people and streets, the garbage and the sex,
that I might see if I were there and if I didn't have a crooked
Dan Sherman writes as thought HE WAS THERE, so the story reads
like truth, with no problem of also spotting the "fiction parts."
This genre can never have a rigid definition since the question
cannot be answered for all of the genre, Truth Told As Fiction.
Some writers get into that mode accidentally, some deliberately.
Some writers include a lot more truth, some more fiction.
But some of the background in the story tells more of the truth
than you might imagine. The protagonist of the story, Polly,
seems to neutrally observe if not condone use of opium. That
seemed to me, at first read, part of the fiction for a supposed
CIA agent, but after reflection I suspect that "times were
different then" and that the "truth" of those times included opium
almost as widely used as cigarettes then and 20 years later but
very few cigarettes today and even less opium. (Or is that
sanguine view a sign of my limited sight?)
In any event, I think Dan Sherman has reported truth as fiction
and does a fabulous job of it.
I suspect that the 100 insiders in Langley and the thousands of
"Chinese insiders" will see the truth in this tale which few out
siders and virtually no Westerners will see.
What a fabulous news item it is, hardly reported, that Communist
Chinese have given lots of money to "Capitalist (?)" Dan Sherman
for the mere option to make a movie from this Book.
I was looking as I read for WHY these Chinese insiders might do
that and I think I now have that answer.
I think these Chinese not only see the truth in this Book, but
want to spread it while Westerners will regard it as cute fiction.
I loved this book and will now go get his others.