Journalist, documentary filmmaker, and author Lynne Joiner discussed her new book, Honorable Survivor: Mao’s China, McCarthy’s America, and the Persecution of John S. Service at The Henry Luce Foundation in New York. As in her book, Ms. Joiner fit John Service’s life into the broader historical background of the struggle in 1940s China between the Communists and Nationalists, the American involvement with China during and after World War II, the madness that gripped the United States in the McCarthy period, and the rapprochement after ping pong diplomacy. She illustrated her talk with an array of wonderful photographs--of Service as a child (he was born in Sichuan); as an adult working in China, including his personal meetings with Mao Zedong in Yan’an; and his tribulations at the hands of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover and later Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Her vivid presentation elicited many questions and comments from the audience, particularly about the years after Mr. Service was cleared of wrongdoing. He was invited to return to China, which he did in 1971. He was very enthusiastic about the changes he saw in China, measuring its progress during the Mao years with the disarray of World War II and civil war China. While some others saw negatives, he was encouraged by the functioning central authority of the government in Beijing, infrastructure improvements, and a fed and clothed population.

Lynne Joiner first traveled to China in late 1975 and was in Beijing in early January 1976 when Premier Zhou Enlai died and was the only American journalist to cover his death from inside China. She met John Service and his wife at a conference on diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China. Their common professional interest developed into a personal friendship. Service told her stories about his conversations with Chairman Mao during World War II, stimulating Joiner’s interest in his career. Her book developed over the course of ten years and represents a tremendous amount of research and analysis.

October 22, 2009 4:00pm EDT
Registration available on partner site, or event occurred in the past.

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