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Terry Lautz Discusses His Book "John Birch: A Life"

Terry Lautz's new book examines the life of John Birch, an American missionary and military intelligence officer in China during WWII. He was killed in a dispute with Chinese Communist soldiers and later became the namesake of the controversial right-wing John Birch Society.

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About the Book
For millions of Americans, the name of John Birch is synonymous with extreme right-wing politics. The real John Birch, as Terry Lautz explains in his recent book, had nothing to do with the infamous John Birch Society—which was especially active in Southern California. Birch was a missionary and intelligence officer in China during World War II who was killed in a dispute with Chinese Communist soldiers soon after Japan’s surrender and long before the JBS was founded. Lautz argues that the perceived martyrdom of John Birch is a misguided view, appropriated for Cold War political purposes. His life and death offer a cautionary tale on America’s relations with China as well as insights on contemporary U.S. politics. 
 

This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

About the Author
Terry Lautz is a Visiting Professor at Syracuse University and former vice president of the Luce Foundation in New York. He is chair of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and holds MA and PhD degrees from Stanford University. His book has been reviewed in the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal.
 
Terry Lautz spoke at USC on January 26, 2017. Click here to watch the presentation
 
 
 
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Events

August 19, 2019 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute and Asia Society for a talk with Weijian Shan, one of Asia’s best-known financiers, as he recounts his remarkable personal story of his exile to the Gobi Desert for hard labor at the age of 15 amidst the turmoil of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.

September 5, 2019 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California

The USC U.S.-China Institute presents a book talk with journalist and author Matt Sheehan. His new book chronicles the deep and interdependent socioeconomic exchanges between China and California.