After Mao's communists took control of mainland China in 1949, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency developed an uneasy partnership with the nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan for covert air operations over the mainland dropping agents and propaganda, and collecting signals, imagery and nuclear intelligence. But Communist China s air defenses reacted with determination and ingenuity to the unwelcome intruders. Ten of the aircraft B-17s, B-26s, and P-2s were lost and over 100 aircrew killed in this epic yet hardly-known struggle, told in English for the first time. Each chapter is punctuated with vivid, first-hand accounts from the participants Chinese nationalists, Chinese communists, and Americans. The book also describes how during the Vietnam War, America subcontracted many of its covert air operations to the same group of airmen from Taiwan.
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I first became aware of the tremendous story of THE BLACK BATS many years ago, during my research on the history of the U-2 spyplane. I was finally prompted to begin work when my good friend in Taiwan, Clarence Fu Jing Ping, decided to write a book in Chinese for the local readership. We agreed to collaborate. His book was published in Taipei in 2006, and was the starting point for my further research.I like a challenge - and researching this book was indeed a challenge. The CIA refused to declassify its history of this program, although it did release some short operational documents. However, we did gain access to valuable official documents on this joint project, from the Taiwan side. Clarence had conducted interviews in Taiwan, and I was able to interview some of the now-ageing American participants. A large number of people helped make this unique volume possible, and they are acknowledged at the back of the book.
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