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The Taiwan Strait Crises of 1954-55 and 1958 occurred at the height of the Cold War. Mao’s China bombarded Nationalist-controlled islands, and U.S. President Eisenhower threatened the use of nuclear weapons. These were dramatic events, and it can be a difficult to disentangle military and political posturing from the real concerns of the three involved powers. Using newly available sources, Pang Yang Huei reexamines the Taiwan Strait Crises and concludes that China, Taiwan, and the United States were much more aware of each other’s concerns than previous studies have indicated. Strait Rituals: China, Taiwan, and the United States in the Taiwan Strait Crises, 1954-1958(Hong Kong University Press, 2019) traces the role of ritual, symbols, and gestures in the tacit communication between Beijing, Taipei, and Washington. Ultimately, this detailed history contributes to a better understanding of the history of the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.

Laurie Dickmeyer is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University, where she teaches courses in Asian and US history. Her research concerns nineteenth-century US-China relations. She can be reached at and on Twitter (@LDickmeyer).

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