'A stranger-than-fiction tale...the result is an impressive and intricately-woven overview of the characters and events that led to a seismic shift in the dynamics between two of the world's greatest superpowers' Charlotte Philby
'Interweaves personal histories with the strategic story of ping-pong diplomacy, one of history's more bizarre, world-changing episodes' Isabel Hilton, Observer
'Alfred Hitchcock would grab this book for a spy thriller' Sir Harold Evans
'The amazing drama of how ping-pong changed the world' Walter Isaacson
'Nicholas Griffin interweaves personal histories with the strategic story of ping-pong diplomacy, one of history s more bizarre, world-changing episodes' Isabel Hilton
'This book deserves a wide audience. Table tennis, with its fascinating, eclectic cast-list of characters, has had a disproportionate and idiosyncratic influence on the wider world. Griffin has captured the big picture without losing the fine detail. It is an early contender for sports book of the year' Matthew Syed, The Times
'Through meticulous research and an impressively-crafted narrative, Griffin gives depth to the life of the the forgotten architect of so-called ping-pong diplomacy... The result is an impressive and intricately-woven overview of the characters and events that led to a seismic shift in the dynamics between two of the world's greatest superpowers' Independent
'A worthy contribution to our understanding of this spectacular event in Chinese-US relations.' --Literary Review
Dalla seconda/terza di copertina
The spring of 1971 brought the greatest geopolitical realignment in a generation. After twenty-two years of antagonism, China and the United States suddenly moved towards a détente - instigated not by politicians, but by ping-pong players.
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Ping-Pong Diplomacy proves that the dramatic shift can be traced back to Ivor Montagu, the son of a wealthy English baron, producer to Alfred Hitchcock, friend of H.G.Wells, Charlie Chaplin and Leon Trotsky, codifier of table tennis and a spy for the Soviet Union. As chairman of the game's International Federation, Montagu had hoped that table tennis would help spread Communism around the world. With his help, the game was established as China's national sport and quickly became a cog in Mao Zedong's foreign policy.
Griffin unravels the strange story of how the game was manipulated at the highest levels; how Mao used it to help cover the death of millions during the Great Famine; how championship players were condemned and tortured during the Cultural Revolution; and finally how the survivors were reconvened in 1971 and ordered to reach out to their American counterparts. Through a cast of eccentric characters, from the King of England, to spies, hippies, ping-pong-obsessed generals and atom bomb survivors, Griffin explores how a neglected British sport incited a realignment of world super powers.