Winner of the American Academy of Diplomacy's 2010 Douglas Dillon Award
For a Book of Distinction on the Practice of American Diplomacy
Honorable Survivor weaves John S. Service's extraordinary story into the fabric of a watershed moment in our history when World War II was ending, the Cold War was dawning, and the McCarthy era witch-hunters were stirring. The book reveals how people, policy, and politics mix to create the circumstances of our lives—and the experiences of one man who came to be at the center of a series of extraordinary events involving the fate of nations.
A true story of intrigue, adventure, persecution, and redemption—and the love of a loyal American wife and a Chinese lover, this biography chronicles the experiences of John S. Service. Emmy award-winning journalist Lynne Joiner tells the tale of Service, an idealistic U.S. Foreign Service officer in wartime China who had the misfortune of often being right although U.S. policymakers refused to heed his prescient reporting. He predicted Mao Tse-tung's successful revolution long before anyone else even knew the Chinese Communists were a potent force, and, subsequently, he became Sen. Joseph McCarthy's first victim. The author describes how Service was fired for "doubtful" loyalty—but won his job back in the U.S. Supreme Court, only to have his career "neutralized" by the FBI, anti-Communist politicians, the China lobby, and Chiang Kai-shek's secret police.
Born and raised in China by YMCA missionaries, Service became America's key liaison with the Communist Chinese when Gen. Joseph Stilwell wanted their help against the Japanese. Later, he became a target of revenge for Nationalist Chinese, a convenient scapegoat for American politicians eager to advance their careers, and a "person of interest" to J. Edgar Hoover for more than a quarter century. Joiner was given special access to Service's private papers and photographs with Mao and Chou En-lai, among others, and gained access to FBI, CIA, and State Department security records as well as confidential transcripts of congressional hearings and federal loyalty review boards. Although newly released Soviet and U.S. documents demonstrate that some of his wartime associates were in fact identified as Communist spies or fellow travelers, Joiner shows that Service was an honorable survivor who was innocent of McCarthy's charges.
Lynne Joiner is an award-winning broadcast journalist, news anchor, and documentary filmmaker. Her work has included assignments for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, Christian Science Monitor Radio, Newsweek, and L.A. Times Magazine. She is currently a news consultant for Shanghai International Television. She lives in San Francisco, CA.
Advance Praise for Honorable Survivor
"a remarkable story...also offers breathtaking insights for diplomats and students of history alike, into the realities of the process of national policymaking, indlucing the terrible toll exacted by egotism, miscommunictation, prejudice, turf warfare and plain ignorance. As such, the book is full of timely lessons--not the least being the critical value of quality Foreign Service political reporting."
– Susan Brady Maitra, Foreign Service Journal
"Sometimes a writer can use one person's story to illuminate an entire piece of history, and that is what Lynne Joiner does in her engrossing and readable book.... This is both a solid addition to scholarship of the Cold War era and the moving, very personal story of the life of one man: brilliant, flawed, long suffering, and honorable indeed."
—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
"Joiner ably tells the tragic story of a good American laid low by the basest kind of character assassination masquerading as anti-Communism. All one can say is: 'Read this book and weep!' "
—Orville Schell, Director of the Center for US-China Relations, Asia Society
"Jack Service's experiences in wartime China and post-war America are an exciting tale with important resonances for current foreign policy challenges in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran as well as US-China relations. I can't wait to see the movie."
—Susan Shirk, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (1997-2000); currently Director, University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, U.C.-San Diego
"This maelstrom of political intrigue, with Service at the center, is presented in well-documented and engaging detail. It is critical reading for anyone concerned with China policy and an instance of Congress and the FBI subverting justice."
—Richard H. Solomon, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Relations; currently President of the U.S. Institute of Peace
"Honorable Survivor is the gripping tale of one man's extraordinary life in wartime China and the Kafkaesque era of McCarthyism in America. Lynne Joiner does a masterful job of using new materials to illuminate how personal decisions, great historical forces, and the actions of vindictive and overzealous officials shaped developments in China, the United States, and U.S.-China relations in ways that have yet to be fully resolved."
—Thomas Fingar, former U.S. Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis; currently lecturer at Stanford University
"How [Jack Service] survived and was ultimately vindicated are the subject of Lynne Joiner's insightful and deeply moving biography."
—Chalmers Johnson, author of Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power and Blowback: the Costs and Consequences of American Empire
"Jack Service did not lose China. On the contrary, he was a hero of the times.... This well-written and thoroughly researched book... helps us understand the machinations and failures of U.S.-China policy, on both the American and Chinese sides."
—Victor Hao Li, former President, East-West Center, Honolulu, and former Shelton Professor of International Law, Stanford Law School
"Lynne Joiner's remarkably candid, thorough and sympathetic biography, Honorable Survivor, is yet another testament to the exoneration of a loyal American caught up in a historical maelstrom."
—Byron Tau, Roll Call