To In an effort to divert China’s attention from the Korean front in 1950 and relieve pressure on the allied forces, the CIA sponsored a series of raids along the southeastern coast of China conducted by anti-Communist guerrillas. The guerrillas were trained and supported by the paramilitary arm of the CIA from coastal islands still in Nationalist hands, and their covert operations remained sealed from public view. Now for the first time in print, the full dramatic story of this large-scale paramilitary campaign is revealed by a veteran of the operations.
Author Frank Holober, a Harvard-educated Chinese specialist and veteran intelligence officer, takes the reader inside the little-known world of clandestine partisan operations early in the Cold War. In lively, straightforward, addictive prose, he describes the dangerous top secret raids launched by Chinese Nationalist guerrillas from Quemoy and other lesser known islands off the Chinese mainland, and assisted by a colorful band of American adventurers. Both anecdotal and analytical, his book is serious history with humorous overtones, based on his own experience and those of his comrades.
Holober is at his best recalling the courageous feats and robust adventure of the "civilian" employees of the Agency-run Western Enterprises, Inc., which included Army and Marine officers on loan to the CIA, World War II veterans, reservists, smokejumpers, college football stars, and psychological warfare specialists surrounding a nucleus of veterans of the OSS’s fabled 101 Detachment. Readers are treated to unforgettable characters with names like "One-Eyed Dragon," "Great White Father," "Two-Gun Creacy," "Fat Wang," and "Earthquake McGoon," whose camaraderie and zest for living are matched only by their "can-do" daring. Here too are the heroic exploits of the CIA’s Civil Air Transport, run by the legendary Flying Tiger Claire Chennault.
Totally candid and unusually insightful, this highly readable eyewitness account of special operations in an area that remains a political and military flashpoint has something for everyone who likes action narrative, from intelligence specialists and China scholars to history buffs and general readers.
Frank Holober, a CIA Far East specialist from 1947 through 1971, served with the Quemoy partisans for ten months in 1951-1952. In World War II he was with the U.S. Army in India. Now based in Bethesda, Maryland, he is a consultant and Chinese instructor.
"All of us who served off the China mainland in the early 1950s have reason to be pleased that Frank Holober has written such an engaging account of that interesting period. Chinese scholar, participant, keen observer, and gifted writer, Holober deserves much credit for breaking the seal of secrecy surrounding the CIA operations off China."
—Gen. Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Ret.), Commandant, 1979-1983, commander, Ta-ch’en base
"This story of American support of--and often direct operational involvement with--the coastal guerrillas of the Republic of China during the Korean War is long overdue in the telling. Holober has done a superb job recounting that story, as well as the individual stories of the characters who made up Western Enterprises Incorporated. . . . Raiders of the China Coast puts a human face on the CIA and illuminates at least one aspect of its contribution to U.S. foreign policy."
—Ambassador Robert Sherwood Dillon (Ret.)
"Historians of the future can thank Frank Holober for lifting the veil covering this operation and opening a specialized fragment of history to the public. As an eyewitness to many of the events he describes, I can testify to the accuracy of his observations. . . . He has delivered a whale of a story that makes us all proud to have been part of it."
—Lt. Col. Edward S. Hamilton, USA (Ret.), commander, Quemoy base
"This is an authentic firsthand, lively, and insightful account of an audacious CIA plan to stir up the remnants of the defeated Chinese Nationalist army and civilians still loyal to Chiang Kai-shek and build a guerrilla movement that would divert Chinese Communist troops from the Korean front. With a keen eye, sharpened by his Chinese expertise, Holober has recorded the high and low points of this Terry-and-the-Pirates adventure to illuminate an overlooked corner of an important facet of the Cold War in Asia."
—Robert J. Myers, Hoover Institution, former CIA official in Asia
"For those who took part in the operation this intriguing book is a source of pride. It explains what we were up to in the Far East during the ‘forgotten war’s forgotten war."
—Lawrence B. Sulc, author of Law Enforcement Counter Intelligence
"On behalf of the more than eight thousand guerrilla officers and men of the Republic of China Kiangsu-Chekiang Anti-Communist National Salvation Army, I extend to Mr. Holober and the members of Western Enterprises our utmost appreciation and respect. Forgotten after forty-seven years, our group has now been restored to life."
—Yang Ping-yung, former chief, Second Department (G-2), K-CACNSA, Ta-ch’en
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