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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

April 9, 2020 - 4:00pm

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for an online talk with Julia Strauss on her new book, which focuses on the period 1949 to 1954 and compares how the Communist Party in China and the Nationalist Party in Taiwan sought to consolidate their authority and foster economic development.

April 16, 2020 - 4:00pm

The USC U.S.-China institute presents a webcast with award-winning journalist Dexter Robert. His new book explores the reality behind today’s financially-ascendant China and pulls the curtain back on how the Chinese manufacturing machine is actually powered.