How did this all begin?
Memories are notoriously unreliable, and we often make
up convenient origin stories. But I do like the one I crafted
for this book, so I will stick with it; it might even be true. In
my hazy recollection, the path leading to this volume started
with a phone conversation. Alessandro Russo, friend and for-
mer mentor, had called to suggest that I submit a proposal to
a conference on China and the Cold War to be held in Bolo-
gna, Italy. I was at the time frantically trying to write my first
book on the May Fourth Movement, so I replied that the Cold
War was way outside the scope of my current research—let
alone my expertise. “Oh, come on!” he insisted, “Why don’t
you write something about the Bulletin?”
We must have had previous conversations on that topic
because the suggestion did not apparently strike me as too
outlandish. So I headed for the library, located the microforms
of the entire run of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars
(thankfully now fully available online), and wrote a first ten-
tative paper on the topic. When the time of the conference
came, I was already feeling way out of my depth among people
who actually knew something about China during the Cold
War. And that feeling got exponentially worse when I realized
that Marilyn Young and Bruce Cumings, both former mem-
bers of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, were
a c k n o w l e d g m e n t s
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