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A Force So Swift


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About the Author

KEVIN PERAINO is a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from around the world. A senior writer and bureau chief at Newsweek for a decade, he was a finalist for the Livingston Award for foreign reporting and part of a team that won the National Magazine Award in 2004. He is the author of Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and The Dawn of American Power.


New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - Winner of the 2018 Truman Book Award

"Peraino's absorbing study of the pivotal year in Chinese-American relations -- when Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party came to power -- shows how decisions made then have continued to affect relations between the two countries up to the present day."
-The New York Times Book Review

"The intimate, blow-by-blow reconstruction of the story offers a vivid sense of what it must have been like for American policy makers as they grappled...with the rapidly deteriorating situation in China....Capture[s] a critical moment in the founding of what is today the most important bilateral relationship in the world."
-The Wall Street Journal "A stellar history ... [that] belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in China and Taiwan."
-The National Interest "China is likely to be the most significant force in the global life of the 21st century, a prospect that makes Kevin Peraino's lucid and compelling new book all the more relevant. By reconstructing the Truman reaction to the fall of Nationalist China and the rise of Mao, Peraino takes us back to the beginning of the journey. This book is excellent history that informs the headlines of today."
-Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Destiny and Power "Kevin Peraino has written a compelling narrative about the dramatic events of 1949, when Mao's armies defeated Chiang Kai-shek and Truman had to decide what to do about it. In this well-researched and well-crafted book, he tells us about Mao's calculations and about the arguments in Washington--events that would determine U.S. policy in Asia for the next thirty years."
-Frances FitzGerald, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fire in the Lake "Just now, when Americans are again trying to make sense of China, a new look at the postwar roots of U.S.-Chinese relations could not be more timely. And a riveting look this is, filled with charismatic individuals, dramatic moments and fraught decisions that still shape our world today."
-H.W. Brands, author of The General vs. the President "As China looms ever larger as America's global rival, it is hard to remember--or even imagine--a time when America was said to have "lost" China. The time was 1949, and Kevin Peraino takes us there with vividness and immediacy, a sure hand and a clear eye. This is narrative history at its most compelling."
-Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon "Nineteen forty-nine was a transformative year in world affairs, and Kevin Peraino splendidly captures its significance and the larger-than-life personalities that made things happen. An important book, and a great read."
-George C. Herring, author of The American Century and Beyond

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