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Library Journal Review
The role of China in World War II is often overlooked, with many books depicting the Chinese primarily as passive victims of Japanese aggression. Macri (postdoctoral fellow, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Hickam AFB, Hawaii) seeks to dispel this impression by demonstrating that Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in the years before the Pacific war deliberately sought to spur outsiders, particularly the British, Americans, and Soviets, to action against the Japanese. However, Macri's efforts are hampered by his use almost entirely of English-language sources, with little reference to Chinese, Japanese, or Soviet documents that could have led to more nuanced discussion. VERDICT This work is better appreciated as an Anglocentric discussion of the role of the British and the colony of Hong Kong during the years in question. It would best be read in tandem with other works on the topic such as Donovan Webster's The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II. Suggested for enthusiasts or academics in the field.-CH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Macri (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) provides the first major study of the southern China theater in the Sino-Japanese War. Mining a wealth of archival materials, the author closely examines strategic decisions, campaigns, and operations in this southern theater and shows how they affected the Allies' strategy vis-a-vis Japan's invasion of China. He portrays Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek not as a passive victim of Japanese aggression, but as an active player determined to spur the Allies to action against the Japanese. Macri devotes a large portion of the book to the role of Hong Kong as the keystone in the so-called "proxy war" for the Allies during the Sino-Japanese conflict, and the detailed history of Hong Kong during this period is perhaps the book's major contribution. The author argues that Hong Kong must be viewed together with southern China as a single military zone. However, the book is hampered by the use almost entirely of English-language sources with little reference to Japanese and Chinese documents, which could have greatly benefited it. For those interested in the history of WW II in the Pacific, Sino-Japanese relations, and the British colonial empire in Asia. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. M. D. Ericson University of Maryland University College