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Synopsis

Between 1919 and 1941, an array of American businessmen, diplomats, missionaries, and private citizens hoped to bring American radio to China. Initiatives included efforts to establish Sino-American radio-telegraphy links across the Pacific, start shortwave broadcasts of American programming to China, support America broadcasting in China itself, increase sales of American radio equipment, and carve out a niche on China's airwaves for American missionary broadcasters. However, excessive faith in radio's influential powers to promote presumably mutually beneficial American economic and cultural expansion blinded many Americans to the complexities they faced. American radio ultimately magnified rather than mitigated the tensions that pit Americans against Chinese nationalists and Japanese imperialists in the years before the Pacific War. By drawing on scholarship in the history of technology, communications and media studies, and US foreign relations, this book's exploration into the relationship between technology, communications, and international relations is relevant to understanding today's globalizing world.

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