Stilwell: The Patriot (Kindle)
Vinegar Joe, The Brits and Chiang Kai-Shek
This meticulously researched biography of the controversial American commander Joe Stilwell presents an intimate account of his career and the complex story of the Burma campaign.
Stilwell was stationed in Burma during the Second World War working as Chinese military leader Chiang Kai-shek’s chief of staff, the commander of the Chinese divisions in Burma and the deputy supreme commander of the SE Asia Command. Known as ‘Vinegar Joe’ for his caustic personality, he famously differed in strategy from other commanders in his division.
Stilwell and George Marshall had planned to have ninety Chinese divisions armed by the USA. Had they succeeded, in 1945 they would have been strong enough to defeat the Communists and would have changed the course of Chinese, if not world, history. Although Chiang had Stilwell dismissed, he recognised his contribution to the Burma Road campaign by renaming part of it the Stilwell Road.
This sympathetic but critical account analyses the passions of an American patriot, infuriated by Chiang’s dishonesty and chicanery, and looks at the possible outcome had Stilwell's views prevailed.
Listed in 'MHM's round-up of the best military history titles'Military History Monthly, August 2018