Ernest Hemingway called her the "Empress of China." British novelist Christopher Isherwood found her "possessed of an almost terrifying charm and poise." Among those impressed by Madame Chiang Kai-shek's charms was the American politician Wendell Willkie, who lost the presidential race against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 but hoped to get the Republican nomination to run again in 1944. Visiting China's wartime capital of Chongqing in 1942, Willkie disappeared from an evening reception—as did Madame Chiang, who had then been married to Chiang Kai-shek for 15 years. According to the privately printed memoirs of the publisher of Look magazine, Gardner Cowles,...

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