On Heartbreak, and Bix on Hirohito

In our culture of oversharing and social media, there is such an excess of verbiage that the words ‘must read’ or ‘essential’ have basically lost their meaning. The same is true for words like ‘heartbreaking’ — if it was really breaking your heart, you wouldn’t be on Twitter. What happens if you don’t read something ‘essential’? Usually, nothing, because the term has been turned into … Continue reading On Heartbreak, and Bix on Hirohito

Little Lies in Big Books: NYT on Madame Chiang Biography

The New York Times has been splurging on its reviews of a new Song Meiling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) biography.   But how can you take even a 735-page book about contemporary Chinese history seriously when it asserts the author Lu Xun was “buried alive” by Chiang Kai-shek in 1936?  Besides being wrong, it puts Chiang Kai-shek in the position of the new Qin Shihuangdi… That’s like … Continue reading Little Lies in Big Books: NYT on Madame Chiang Biography