Stilwell the Patriot

Vinegar Joe,the Brits and Chiang Kai-Shek

Published Jul 2005 by Greenhill Books

ISBN: 978-1853676321


David Rooney – Foreword by Robert Lyman

This meticulously researched biography of the controversial American commander Joe Stilwell presents an intimate account of his career and the complex story of the Burma campaign.

Stilwell was stationed in Burma during the Second World War working as Chinese military leader Chiang Kai-Shek’s chief of staff, the commander of the Chinese divisions in Burma and the deputy supreme commander of the SE Asia Command. Known as ‘Vinegar Joe’ for his caustic personality, he famously differed in strategy from other commanders in his division.

Stilwell and George Marshall had planned to have 90 Chinese divisions armed by the USA. Had they succeeded, in 1945 they would have been strong enough to defeat the Communists and would have changed the course of Chinese, and indeed, world history. Although Chiang had Stilwell dismissed, he recognized his contribution to the Burma Road campaign by renaming part of it the Stilwell Road.

This sympathetic but critical account analyzes the passions of an American patriot, infuriated by Chiang’s dishonesty and chicanery, and looks at the possible outcome had Stilwell’s views prevailed.

After World War II service in the Far East and Ghana, David Rooney read history at Oxford and subsequently took a research degree in Commonwealth History. His career in education included four years as Senior Lecturer at RMA Sandhurst. His writings include Burma Victory, considered by Brigadier Michael Calvert the best book yet on the Burma Campaign, Wingate and the Chindits, Mad Mike, and his recent highly acclaimed Guerrilla. Robert Lyman is the author of the best-selling Slim, Master of War.