Double Birthdays

How pleasant it is to note that General Joseph Stilwell and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were born this day, on the same day, and contributed to history together.  You already know of my admiration for Roosevelt; I’ve written of it several times on this blog.  You probably don’t know of my admiration for Barbara Tuchman’s biography Stilwell and the American Experience in China (1971), which is a model for any writer looking for an example of how to reveal the genuine importance of someone who may be commonly regarded as a “minor” figure in history.  It’s a great book, offering us insight into the conduct of the Pacific theater of war in World War II, into the personalities of the men most closely involved with that strategy (the President, Stilwell, Douglas MacArthur, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, Chiang Kai-Shek), and into a land most of us still know very little about, China itself.

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