John Birch was better known in death than life. Shot and killed by Communists in China, he posthumously became the namesake for a right-wing organization whose influence is still visible in today's Tea Party. This is the remarkable story of an American missionary-turned-soldier who wanted tosave China, but became a victim instead. Terry Lautz, a longtime scholar of US-China relations, has spoken with Birch's remaining relatives, found letters written to the women he loved, and visited sites in China where he lived and died. The result is the first authoritative biography of this fascinating figure who continues to haunt thefringes of American political life. Birch was a missionary in China during the tumultuous time of the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the U.S. Army, served with Claire Chennault, commander of the famed Flying Tigers, and operated behind enemy lines as an intelligence officer. His death at the hands Communisttroops soon after Japan's surrender came was a shock, since Mao Zedong's forces had cooperated with Americans until then. Some years later, Robert Welch, a businessman from Boston, promoted Birch as a martyr and made him the namesake for the John Birch Society, one of the most influential andpolarizing organizations of the Cold War era. Lautz covers Birch's life and his afterlife, and places him not only in the context of anti-communism, but in the longstanding American quest to shape China's destiny. In this critical study of a figure who has reached near-legendary status, Lautz cuts through the mythology to explain John Birch - both the man and the political phenomenon.