AMERICAN NOTES: The Great Chop Forward

It is one of the anomalies of the post-war period that for more than 20 years two of the world's three great powers have refused to mingle. Historians will one day ponder the fear of contagion that prevented the U.S. and China from exchanging diplomats or scholars, or from trading officially in even so innocuous an item as firecrackers. They may be even more perplexed by the fact that when the barriers were finally breached, it was done by Ping Pong players. This week the U.S. table-tennis party of ten men and five...

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