You are here

Video: Terry Lautz on the Life of John Birch

Terry Lautz 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.
Print
 
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.

Click here for the event listing

Print

Events

April 26, 2018 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California
Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute and USC professor Brett Sheehan for a discussion on the evolution of Chinese capitalism chronicling the fortunes of the Song family of North China under five successive authoritarian governments.

 

June 5, 2018 - 7:00pm
Los Angeles, California

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute, the East Asian Studies Center, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a screening of the 1993 Chinese film Woman Sesame Oil Maker (香魂女). It tells the story of a woman in a small village who buys a peasant wife for his mentally disabled son after her sesame oil business becomes unexpectedly successful. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Xie Fei (谢飞).