Cheques all cashed

Murray Sayle’s gossipy, bitchy “review(link to the UK Spectator magazine)”: of a new book that picks over the carcass of the nationalist/comunist/unification wars in China in which Soong Mei-ling—”dead(link to Guardian obit)”:,3604,1070635,00.html only last month—played a small, if memorable, part. Sayle sums up the Generalisimo with a sour recollection bq. General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, the American chief of staff forced on him by President Roosevelt, referred to him as “The Peanut” because of his short stature and shiny bald head, and described him to a journalist as “an ignorant, illiterate, superstitious, peasant son-of-a-bitch”. According to the review, it seems that the Gimo—as Chiang called himself—was also a bigamist. Interesting to speculate whether Mei-ling knew this. It would have been in charcter for both of them if she had.

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