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The attack on the British frigate Amethyst on the Yangtze River by Chinese Communists in 1949 made world headlines. There was even more publicity when the ship made a dramatic escape after being trapped for 101 days. Eulogised by the British as an example of outstanding courage and fortitude, the 'Yangtze Incident' was even made into a feature film, which depicted the ship and her crew as innocent victims of Communist aggression. The truth was more complex, and so sensitive that the government intended that the files should be closed until 2030. However, these have now been released and in making use of these documents this book is the first to tell the full story. What emerges is an intriguing tale of intelligence failure, military over-confidence and a hero with feet of clay – it is by no means as heroic as the well-publicised official version, but every bit as entertaining. While the reputations of diplomatic and naval top brass take a knock, the bravery and ingenuity of those actively involved shines even more brightly. Written with verve and including much new and surprising information, this book is both enjoyable and informative.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek - the head of China's military academy and leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) - began the `northern expeditions' to bring China's northern territories back under the control of the state. It was during this period that the KMT purged communist activities, fractured the army and sparked the Chinese Civil War - which would rage for over twenty years. The communists, led by General Mao Tse-Tsung, were for much of the period forced underground and concentrated in the Chinese countryside. As the author argues, this resulted in China's war featuring unusually high levels of espionage and sabotage, and increased the military importance of information gathering. Based on newly declassified material, Panagiotis Dimitrakis charts the double-crossings, secret meetings and bloody assassinations which would come to define China's future. Uniquely, The Secret War for China gives equal weighting to the role of foreign actors: the role of British intelligence in unmasking Communist International (Comintern) agents in China, for example, and the allies' attempts to turn nationalist China against the Japanese. The Secret War for China also documents the clandestine confrontation between Mao and Chiang and the secret negotiations between Chiang and the Axis Powers, whose forces he employed against the CCP once the Second World War was over. In his turn, Mao employed nationalist forces who had defected - during the last three years of the civil war about 105 out of 869 KMT generals defected to the CCP. This book is an urgent and necessary guide to the intricacies of the Chinese Civil War, a war which decisively shaped the modern Asian world.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek - the head of China’s military academy and leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) - began the ‘northern expeditions’ to bring China’s northern territories back under the control of the state. It was during this period that the KMT purged communist activities, fractured the army and sparked the Chinese Civil War - which would rage for over twenty years. The communists, led by General Mao Tse-Tsung, were for much of the period forced underground and concentrated in the Chinese countryside. As the author argues, this resulted in China’s war featuring unusually high levels of espionage and sabotage, and increased the military importance of information gathering. Based on newly declassified material, Panagiotis Dimitrakis charts the double-crossings, secret meetings and bloody assassinations which would come to define China’s future. Uniquely, The Secret War for China gives equal weighting to the role of foreign actors: the role of British intelligence in unmasking Communist International (Comintern) agents in China, for example, and the allies’ attempts to turn nationalist China against the Japanese. The Secret War for China also documents the clandestine confrontation between Mao and Chiang and the secret negotiations between Chiang and the Axis Powers, whose forces he employed against the CCP once the Second World War was over. In his turn, Mao employed nationalist forces who had defected - during the last three years of the civil war about 105 out of 869 KMT generals defected to the CCP. This book is an urgent and necessary guide to the intricacies of the Chinese Civil War, a war which decisively shaped the modern Asian world.

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