Honorable Survivor

Mao's China, McCarthy's America, and the Persecution of John S. Service

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Overview

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.

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