Book Review:- ‘Mao’s Army Goes to Sea: The island campaigns and the founding of China’s navy ‘by T. Yoshihara

By Jordan Chapman, published December 2023

Abstract

The naval element of the Chinese Civil War (1927–49) has been lacking in focused study, with more interest being shown in more contemporary Chinese maritime exploits. Toshi Yoshihara has seen fit to fill this gap by demonstrating how the People’s Republic of China went from having no navy to speak of, to forming an organized force capable of beating back Nationalist Chinese naval dominance and taking many of the last remaining Nationalist Island holdings close to the mainland. The book details the reasons why the Communist Chinese stopped short of seizing Taiwan and how the disaster at Jinmen still affects Chinese naval thinking into the modern day. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea mainly focuses on the period from 1949 to 1950, the true beginning for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), how it grew from the army cobbling together a hodgepodge of vessels including defected Nationalist Navy ships with the aim of seizing Nationalist holdouts. Furthermore, the book highlights the logistical and personnel difficulties involved with such an endeavour, a monumental task while at war and with objectives to meet. Yoshihara also has an eye to the present and how those decisions and campaigns affect Chinese strategy to this day. Mao’s Army Goes to Sea provides key insights into how the modern-day PLAN might act in the near future…

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Filed under: Interwar | WW2 | Post WW2
Subjects include: Administration | Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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