I have come upon Jay Taylor’s engaging writing only recently when I read his fascinating overview of the world’s two most populous countries, China and India, in his book ‘The Dragon and the Wild Goose’. The refreshingly different view point of this veteran Foreign Service officer presents instead of thinly disguised extrapolations of his own canny wisdom and insights, rather a keenly observing reporter’s overview of the realities of these complex societies with an objectivity that is both pragmatic and prophetic. Top 25 Market Online.
And … when I heard of [ Jay Taylor's] recently released ‘The Generalissimo’ … I found another gem of his factually based insights into one of modern history’s most enigmatic political players. Whoever believes they know, or wishes to know, how contemporary China has so explosively come upon the world stage over the last decades, you have to read ‘The Generalissimo’ to get the full understanding of the internecine struggles of the China.
The Generalissimo dreamed he could dominate and bring to such a state. He lost the struggle on the mainland to Mao Zedong, and retreated to the small island of Taiwan, and there, by what could be called ‘miraculous conception’, one of the most dynamic and productive societies in human history was created, and under the guidance of Chiang Kai-shek and his designated heir, his son Chiang Ching-kuo….Chiang Kai-shek’s long, adventurous career involved nearly all the major political personalities of the twentieth century – including his own wife the enchanting, western educated Madame Chiang who herself beguiled most western politicians – and Taylor deftly sketches these equally extraordinary characters like Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Truman, General Marshall, and even Wendell Wilkie, who conceivably had a one night tryst with Madame Chiang. And best of all, you travel this miraculous journey in the company of a writer who is the reader’s most treasured companion: keenly observing, equitable but questioning, and objectively sympathetic with subtle humor along the way.This is a great read and wondrous story.
William Krause, Princeton, NJ
(Posted on amazon.com, April 26, 2009)