Books: Puzzle Without Solution

STILWELL AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE IN CHINA, 1911-45 by Barbara W. Tuchman. 621 pages. Macmillan. $10.

For as long as anyone can remember, China has puzzled Americans. U.S. feelings have been a mixture of fascination, affection—and disastrous delusion. During World War II the result was complete military failure in China as well as a legacy of bitterness between China and the U.S. So argues Barbara Tuchman. The value of her engrossing popular history is that it provides a kind of psychological purgative.

The American fantasy—that the U.S. could be China's protector—began about the turn...

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