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



Lynne Joiner, Shanghi International TV Channel

Date and Time

September 30, 2009 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Philippines Conference Room

Lynne Joiner, author of Honorable Survivor: Mao's China, McCarthy's America and the Persecution of John S. Service will discuss and read from her new book, available October 7, 2009.

John Stewart Service (3 August 1909 - 3 February 1999) was an American diplomat who served in the Foreign Service in China prior to and during World War II. Considered one of the State Department's "China Hands," he was an important member of the Dixie Mission to Yan'an. Service correctly predicted that the Communists would defeat the Nationalists in a civil war, but he and other diplomats were blamed for the "loss" of China in the domestic political turmoil following the 1949 Communist triumph in China. In the immediate postwar years, Service was indicted in the Amerasia Affair in 1945, of which a Grand Jury cleared him of wrongdoing.  In 1950 U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy launched an attack against Service, which led to investigations of the reports Service wrote while stationed in China. Secretary of State Dean Acheson fired Service, but in 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement in a unanimous decision.

Notable reviews:

"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 postwar America are an exciting tale with important resonances for current foreign policy challenges in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran as well as U.S.-China relations. I can't wait to see the movie."

-Susan L. 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 

"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 is an Emmy 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 Los Angeles Times Magazine. She lives in San Francisco, California.

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