: The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China (): Jay Taylor: Books. By Jay Taylor. Belknap. pp. $ Chiang Kai-shek ranks as one of the most despised leaders of the 20th century. Famously derided as. Hadrian said: This new revisionist biography of the Generalissimo draws from new Jay Taylor has revisited the western treatment of Chiang Kai-shek in The.

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Chiang Kai-shek, an autocratic, larger-than-life figure, dominates this story. A modernist as well as a neo-Confucianist, Chiang was a man of war who led the most ancient and populous country in the world through a quarter century of bloody revolutions, civil conflict, and wars of resistance against Japanese aggression.

Jay Taylor shows a man who was exceedingly ruthless and temperamental but who was also courageous and conscientious in matters of state. Now, Jay Taylor has provided us with a strong, vivid, and eminently readable biography of this major twentieth-century leader that captures his ‘life and times’ better than any previous work in English. Taylor has taken a fresh look at his long, eventful life based on new sources, and suggests a controversial but persuasive new reading of Chiang’s motives and actions.

This vividly realized account will be the authoritative work for a long time to come. Taylor does not conceal Chiang’s brutality and diplomatic failures, but he is an admirer who makes a good case that Chiang governed an almost ungovernable country with reasonable skill and understood his enemies better than American advisers did.

Chiang Kai-shek and the Genwralissimo for Modern Chinachallenges the catechism on which generations of Americans have been weaned. Marshaling archival materials made newly available to researchers, including about four decades’ worth of Chiang’s daily diaries and documents from the Soviet era, it torpedoes many of that catechism’s cherished tenets.

This is an important, controversial book Chiang emerges as a flesh-and-blood man rather than heneralissimo buffoonish cardboard-cutout figure he has generally been portrayed as. It is the first biography to make full use of the Chiang family archive.

This includes Chiang’s own diary, in which he wrote at least a page of classical Chinese daily from to The picture that emerges is of a far more subtle and prescient thinker than the man America’s General Joseph Stilwell used to refer to as “peanut,” and Britain’s chief of staff, Field-Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, dismissed in Cairo as “a cross between a pine marten and a ferret.

Now a different Chiang stands geneeralissimo us.

Drawing on new material, years of interviews with the dwindling number of those with first-hand memories of the Chiang family, and scrutiny of Chiang’s voluminous diaries, Taylor reveals a tahlor more interesting and despite his stiff exterior, frequently adaptable Chiang The book is a huge advance on our knowledge of what happened in China from the early twentieth century to the present day, when an updated version of Chiang’s Kuomintang is again in power in Taipei There will be no oblivion [for Chiang].

Jay Taylor has seen to that A substantial and comprehensive contribution to our knowledge of China. This richly detailed biography argues that Chiang’s neo-Confucian vision for a modern China may yet win This is the most thorough inquest on the Generalissimo so far. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

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China’s World War II, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. Revolution and Its Past: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention chiang kai-shek jay taylor kai shek civil war modern china chiang kai mao zedong united states well written jonathan fenby chinese history mao the unknown lost the civil must read struggle for modern kai-shek and the struggle world war book generaoissimo chiang biography of chiang generalissimo chiang.

Showing of 41 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There genegalissimo a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Since I was growing up in a taylpr in Northeast China generalisximo the s, the adult people there liked talking about old time stories, Mao and Chiang are among the most interesting figures in the topics. I became curious about the two men early from my childhood. I chose to read the two men in original English version books, also as a way to challenge and improve my English language ability.

Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Being a hero does not depend on success or failure. His viewpoints are quite balanced, taylorr really Western or Chinese, nor the conventional view to describe him as civil war loser, a brutal dictator who lacks charisma. He was born in rich costal Zhejiang province, traditional culture reserved well there.

So there is no doubt, he was man with Confucius value, he received military education in Japan during his youth time, that Japanese samurai code: Chiang is the heir to Dr. Sun Yat-sen in KMT, he was the winner for many power conflicts inside and outside the party. As an old time political leader, he generallissimo no big different to others, master of intrigues, cracked down his opponents, butchered a lot of people without mercy. China survived from that painful and humiliating period, China is the winner, and Chiang himself taglor the all time gneralissimo survivor, even the danger of collapses were always with him.

However, for personality, I admire Chiang. He was calm, staid, emotional, disciplined, he tolerated many intellectuals who against him and also corruptions of in his circles. He showed his respects for lives and culture, never tried to purge everybody or everything in his life.

He is a man with bottom line, maybe, his personality is one of the reasons making he losing many golden opportunities, and finally defected by the extremely ruthless Mao. Yet some backward ways of thinking are still lingering today.

We should never forget the struggles and sacrifices of revolutionary martyrs and leaders who wanted to transform China and won the dignity of Chinese people.

The Generalissimo

They have to get the support from modern super-powers, have to play games with them. There were a lot of humiliations, angers, sacrifices, etc. History always taught us a lot of things.

What I learned from this book, from Generalissomo is his strong will and tactics to manage crisis, his belief and love for the country. His strong will power, rationally thinking, emotional style, never surrender to overwhelming enemies touched my heart a lot. It is the spirit I should have in my life, my business adventures. This has become one of the most important reading experiences since my childhood.

At last, sincerely thanks to the author: In the early 20th century, years of civilization finally came to a boiling point – China, the world’s only surviving ancient civilization, must face it’s biggest challenge yet. The rise and fall of Chiang Kai-shek, the man who took on the insurmountable task gejeralissimo managing an unmanageable country, to fight the monsters of modern war machines with foot soldiers, to unite the broken spirits of a billion souls, is detailed like never before with a creditable author who aligns the stories of various historical sources with Chiang Kai-shek’s own – his famous dairy.


A must read for anyone who loves history. Taylor provides a fair and sympathetic view of Chiang Kai-Shek’s life as a magnificent yet conflicted leader through decades of revolution, wars, nation-building, defeats both military and political, during China’s emergence from ancient dynastic governance to a modern state.

He brings to life the many nuanced, complex relationships among key KMT and CCP figures that may be difficult for the Occidental mind to appreciate. Taylor’s easy-reading style and thoroughly researched work will challenge the conventional negative standing Chiang has occupied in recent decades among many Americans. Taylr very enjoyable, fascinating read.

The Generalissimo sheds shocking new light on Sino-American relations, and the view isn’t pretty. Under a string of administrations in fact all of them from the s on, the United States showed itself to be an untrustworthy ally, shamelessly betraying the Nationalist Chinese again and again.

Supposed “wise men” like Acheson and Kissinger come across as buffoons and sellouts to the communists. The most amazing insight of the book is that the prosperous, democratic Taiwan of today is exactly what the “wise men” of the s insisted that Chiang Kai Shek could never deliver and his communists opponents would. Tens of millions of dead and decades of kay later, it now seems that China is coming around, not to Mao’s vision, but to Chiang’s.

Jay Taylor, The Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China

A good prism into the events and changes happened in China during the last century. The selection of historical pictures alone would have made tayylor a worth possession.

Amazingly well written biography. The author had access to an amazing generaliswimo source, Ciang Kai-Shek’s personal diary that he wrote in daily. It really makes a man out of a person many believe to be a monster. The History of China in the 20th Century has been usually colored by the ideology of the times and of the writer. China had a turbulent History, living the first half of the century in war, and war accounts are usually told by the winner.

Chiang Kai-Shek lost the war, and so I think his role has always been underrated. This is a more balanced account of those times, and Chiang’s voice comes through his journals, and we can feel the tremendous burden that he carried on his shoulders, trying to unify a fragmented country, while fighting an almost hopeless war against a powerful and ruthless invader.

In my opinion his stature nay be equal to Churchill’s: Both chose to fight, and we owe them both the same respect. One beneralissimo two orthographical infelilicites but otherwise a great read and very informative indeed.

The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China by Jay Taylor

Generalissimoo person found this helpful. See all 41 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. China’s Generalissimo and the Nation He Lost.