The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945–1947 Audiobook, by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan Play Audiobook Sample

The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945–1947 Audiobook

The China Mission: George Marshall’s Unfinished War, 1945–1947 Audiobook, by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 9.33 hours at 1.5x Speed 7.00 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: April 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781538517697

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

68:36 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

11:42 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

44:09 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

A spellbinding narrative of the high-stakes mission that changed the course of America, China, and global politics―and a rich portrait of the towering, complex figure who carried it out.

As World War II came to an end, General George Marshall was renowned as the architect of Allied victory. Set to retire, he instead accepted what he thought was a final mission―this time not to win a war, but to stop one. Across the Pacific, conflict between Chinese Nationalists and Communists threatened to suck in the United States and escalate into revolution. His assignment was to broker a peace, build a Chinese democracy, and prevent a Communist takeover, all while staving off World War III.

In his thirteen months in China, Marshall journeyed across battle-scarred landscapes, grappled with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and plotted and argued with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his brilliant wife, often over card games or cocktails. The results at first seemed miraculous. But as they started to come apart, Marshall was faced with a wrenching choice. Its consequences would define the rest of his career, as the secretary of state who launched the Marshall Plan and set the standard for American leadership, and the shape of the Cold War and the US-China relationship for decades to come. It would also help spark one of the darkest turns in American civic life, as Marshall and the mission became a first prominent target of McCarthyism, and the question of “who lost China” roiled American politics.

The China Mission traces this neglected turning point and forgotten interlude in a heroic career―a story of not just diplomatic wrangling and guerrilla warfare, but also intricate spycraft and charismatic personalities. Drawing on eyewitness accounts both personal and official, it offers a richly detailed, gripping, close-up, and often surprising view of the central figures of the time―from Marshall, Mao, and Chiang to Eisenhower, Truman, and MacArthur―as they stood face-to-face and struggled to make history, with consequences and lessons that echo today.

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“Enthralling…Uses archival sources and extensive research to give an in-depth look at Marshall himself….As we approach the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, The China Mission is a timely reminder of the pivotal role George Marshall played in shaping the world we know today.”

— BookPage 


  • “Malcolm Hillgartner’s bass pitch and stately American tone sound like the mid-twentieth century, and this is a very mid-twentieth-century story…The listener can hear in Hillgartner’s voice that the United States was headed for a major diplomatic setback and the first stages of the Cold War.”

    — AudioFile
  • “Brilliant…[A] beautifully written portrait of George Marshall, a statesman of such integrity that he seems as far removed from Washington, DC, today as would an ancient Roman.”

    — Fareed Zakaria, New York Times bestselling author and CNN host
  • “Deeply researched and written with verve, [The China Mission] ought to be read by any US foreign-policy maker practicing diplomacy in Asia…Mr. Kurtz-Phelan has performed a service in reviving this important episode with such aplomb, rigor, and pace.”

    — Wall Street Journal
  • “Thoroughly researched and compellingly written, it is at once a revealing study of character and leadership, a vivid reconstruction of a critical episode in the history of the early Cold War, and an insightful meditation on the limits of American power even at its peak.”

    — New York Times
  • “Both a compelling portrait of a remarkable soldier and statesman and an instructive lesson in the limits of American power, even at its zenith.”

    — Economist (London)
  • “Gripping…does a splendid job of delineating Marshall’s evolving relationships…an enormous contribution to our understanding of Marshall.”

    — Washington Post
  • “This deeply researched, gripping account is enhanced by the author’s striking portrayals of these complex leaders…[A] page-turning narrative of an important chapter in Cold War history.”

    — Library Journal (starred review)
  • “Astute and surprisingly entertaining…Superb research [of] a genuinely peerless hero doing his best in a no-win situation. The definitive history of a failure from which the US seemingly learned nothing (civil war in Vietnam was already heating up).”

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “The China Mission has much to teach us about both the past and future of American leadership…I have rarely read such a vivid account of how diplomacy really works.”

    — Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state
  • “An outstanding book on a very important subject: how to use American power judiciously and effectively in a rapidly changing world.”

    — Odd Arne Westad, S. T. Lee Professor of US–Asia Relations. Harvard University


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month selection
  • A BookPage Top Pick of Best New Nonfiction
  • A #1 bestseller in International Relations
  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and Staff Picks selection
  • A Vogue Pick for Dads

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About Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan is the executive editor of Foreign Affairs. He previously served in the US State Department as a member of the secretary of state’s Policy Planning Staff. His reportage and analysis have appeared in publications including the New York Times and the New Yorker.

About Malcolm Hillgartner

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 250 audiobooks.