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To Change China: Western Advisers in China 1620-1960
To Change China Western Advisers in China 1620-1960 Author:Jonathan Spence In 1617, the brilliant Jesuit astronomer Adam Schall sailed from Lisbon on the ship NOSSA SENHORA DE JESUS. Schall's destination was China. His mission was to prove to the Chinese court the superiority of Western science -- and so convert all China to the Christian faith. Schall's spiritual mission ended in disaster. (He died under house arre... more »st in his Peking residence in 1666.) Yet, in 1967, exactly three hundred and fifty years after Schall left Lisbon, the People's Liberation Army of China successfully detonated a "hydrogen" test bomb one hundred times more powerful than the U.S. bomb that blasted Hiroshima. Schall's science, if not his faith, had borne fruit.
Schall was one of the first of a long succession of invited and uninvited Western advisors to China. His story is magnificently told in TO CHANGE CHINA, along with the stories of fifteen other Westerners who came to China as self-convinced conquerors and who returned home in defeat -- or failed to return at all.
Among the advisers were soldiers (Frederick Townsend Ward, "Chinese" Gordon, Claire Chennault, "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell) and doctors (like Peter Parker and Norman Bethune) and revolutionaries (like the Russian Borodin). Among them were translators and teachers, customs officers and daring engineers. Despite the range of their expertise, however, and despite the more than three centuries that their works span, their cumulative lives have a strange continuity. They experienced similar excitement and danger, entertained similar hopes, learned to bear similar frustrations. They bared their souls and mirrored their own societies in their actions. In doing so, they stood at perpetual odds with fundamental Chinese values.« less