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Guest Opinion

The China Mirage" by James Bradley

The Times of Brownsville, Oregon

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Book Review by Don Ware

This book carries a subtitle of "The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia." What is remarkable on the surface is that this author's father was one of the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima, and his brother was injured In Viet Nam. Rather than being bhndly patriotic, fol!owing the popular beliefs about our Asian policy he writes a compelling argument about the disaster of our Asian policies for over 100 years. His first contention, which appears factual, was President Teddy Roosevelt's agreement with Japan's takeover of Korea in 1905. Roosevelt not only agreed with it, to the horror of the Korean government and people at that time, but strongly supported the Japanese expansion and its war against Russia.

He then writes about the influence of early missionaries to China and their reliance on the very few educated Chinese, which included the Kiang-Soong-Hong families, educated in the USA, and, supposedly Christian converts, who convinced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the need to support Chiang Kai-Shek, rather than Mao ZeTung. Mao was more interested in cooperating with the USA than Russia, back in the 1930s. It is also noted that Franklin's wealth came from the fortune made by his grandfather, Warren Delano, who made millions off the opium trade into China. The opium money kept President Franklin Roosevelt in financial balance. Finally the influence of author Pearl Buck and Henry Luce, the owner of Times Magazine, both involved in creating an unrealistic view of Chinese culture, which helped to mislead the American public, as well as our government.

The author concludes that neither his father nor his brother needed to suffer war if we had developed a realistic view of China and the role China has to play in the world. He believes almost every decision made between 1900 and 2010 has been wrong-headed and disastrous to our country.

I believe his conclusions are well worth considering, if not accepting. It would define how our Asian policy was bad for that 100 years, and why it is not very good now. The wars in Korea and Vietnam might not have been fought, if our leadership had made wiser decisions in US/Asian policy.

This book is now available in the Brownsville Library, and for anyone interested in our history and in what the future might hold for the world, this book is recommended. trip of heavy packs, sore feet, and very tired nights along the trail or in trail shelters. He describes the terrain and people they meet along the way, including the very irritating Mary Ann, who joined them uninvited for part of their walk. They didn't walk the whole trail, but gave in after somewhere in North Carolina. Bryson then walked portions of the trail over the next two years, and the pair joined up again for a very disastrous effort to finish the Maine portion of the trail, which has a 100 miles stretch at the very end and awful hiking conditions, with bear, cougar and moose sightings.

Interspersed throughout the book is a running history of the trail, the people who built it, and some of the stories of those who walked it. He describes his fear of bears after reading a pamphlet at the outset of his trip, about people harmed or killed by bears along the trail. He even describes a frightening night when he decided a bear had come into the camp. One never learns what animal it was, but did learn that his knife was outside the tent in his backpack and that he was unable to get his walking partner excited about the possible bear. In fact, his friend had a nail clippers set as protection, and showed no fear or worry during the incident. He also described the several murders that have occurred on the trail.

The author is humorous and the book is fun to read, although I found myself skipping some of the history portions that I found distracting. He turns out to be a critic of the U.S. Forest Service, with only a few kind words for the organization.

This book and others by the author are available in the Brownsville Library, so if you are thinking of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, then you might want to give this book a go. participants how to make colorful garden flags.

Other fun projects are "build-a-bouquet" with flowers to take home that are grown in the community garden, plant identification games and so much more.

Members of the CEA board will guide walks around the gardens and share garden information.

The community garden often donates fresh, organic produce to the Food Bank and other programs that feed people who may not otherwise have fresh food to eat.

Community members with green thumbs, but no space where they live to dig in the dirt, also benefit from renting garden plots at low cost. One of the garden's annual renters donates almost all she grows to the Brownsville Senior Center.

The garden space and water is provided to the CEA by the school district. Another way the CFAbenefits our community is by encouraging the eating of locally-produced foods which, in turn, helps support our local economy.

The alliance is also responsible for creating, managing and offering a weekly farmer's market, which not only provides opportunities to buy locally-produced mostly organic foods, but also gives local home gardeners income opportunities.

It is a win-win situation for Brownsville. Please come and support the efforts of the CFA by visiting our community garden tonight, Wednesday, July 29 from 6-9 p.m. No alcohol or smoking please.

Bring lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy an evening in the garden, or just stop by for a chat and a glass of lemonade.

For more information about the Calapooia Food Alliance, visit

Also, visit our Brownsville Farmer's Market Facebook page for information about our new Thursday Market held from 3-7pm weekly.

In addition to offering locally-grown produce and other local products, look for fun activities and live music throughout the summer at the market on Main Street. See you there!

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Original Publication Date: July 29, 2015

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