A Dangerous Lark

When it comes to writing memoirs, journalists either have it or they don't. Too much recycled reportage, and the account turns leaden, leaving readers craving the terse economy of the writer's original articles; too much indulgence in personal reminiscence, and the result can be cloying and sentimental. But in Chasing the Dragon: A Veteran Journalist's Firsthand Account of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, Roy Rowan gets the ingredients just right, providing an account that has both factual heft and robust flavor.

Rowan, whose career at TIME and its sister publications LIFE and FORTUNE spanned more than five decades, recalls...

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