Lester Knox Little kept a detailed journal of his time in China and Taiwan. Covering the years 1943 to 1954 it provides important new insights about some of the most dramatic episodes in China’s mid-twentieth century history: Sino-Japanese military and economic competition, China’s domestic political struggle between the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Chinese Communist Party, and the post-war/Cold War balance of power in Southeast and East Asia. It also contains rich first-hand materials for understanding conditions in Chongqing and post-war Shanghai, the last years of the Republic of China on the Chinese mainland and its early years in Taiwan, and a new inner history of his beloved Chinese Maritime Customs Service.
Little’s account, with his insightful comments and explicit descriptions, provides us with a continuous record from the viewpoint of a capable American citizen in Chinese employ who felt responsible for his Chinese and foreign colleagues and for the modernisation of ‘Free China’, as well as allowing a unique insight into the heart of government during a time of intense social and political change. In addition to the original texts, this edition includes extensive explanatory notes providing detailed contextual information regarding the people and places mentioned.