Upcoming Event

Sulmaan Wasif Khan at Harvard Book Store


The Struggle for Taiwan:
A History of America, China,
and the Island Caught Between


May 14, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes SULMAAN WASIF KHAN—Denison Chair in History and International Relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and author of Haunted by Chaos and Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy—for a discussion of his new book The Struggle for Taiwan: A History of America, China, and the Island Caught Between.

About The Struggle for Taiwan

As tensions over Taiwan escalate, the United States and China stand on the brink of a catastrophic war. Resolving the impasse demands we understand how it began. In 1943, the Allies declared that Japanese-held Taiwan would return to China at the conclusion of World War II. The Chinese civil war led to a change of plans. The Communist Party came to power in China and the defeated Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan, where he was afforded US protection. The specter of conflict has loomed ever since.

In The Struggle for Taiwan, Sulmaan Wasif Khan offers the first comprehensive history of the triangular relationship between the United States, China, and Taiwan, exploring America’s ambivalent commitment to Taiwan’s defense, China’s bitterness about the separation, and Taiwan’s impressive transformation into a flourishing democracy. War is not inevitable, Khan shows, but to avoid it, decision-makers must heed the lessons of the past.

From the White Terror to the Taiwan Straits Crises, from the normalization of Sino-American relations to Trump-era rising tensions, The Struggle for Taiwan charts the paths to our present predicament to show what futures might be possible.

Praise for The Struggle for Taiwan

"In its depth of research, command of the field, and assured, fast-moving pace, The Struggle for Taiwan is an extraordinary book.” —Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

“There can be few more urgent geopolitical issues than the fate of Taiwan, yet western readers still know far too little about how this Asian island became so contentious. There could be no better guide to the Taiwan question than Khan, who brings deep historical and political knowledge to a highly readable account of why Taiwan has become such a flashpoint—and what may happen next.” —Rana Mitter, author of China’s Good War

“Covering eight decades of Taiwan-US-China relations, the book meticulously details how Taiwan has navigated between Washington’s lack of strategic vision and Beijing’s rigid Taiwan policy. What emerges is that Taiwan’s trajectory is shaped not only by leaders in Taipei, Washington, and Beijing but increasingly by the democratic choices of the Taiwanese people. This beautifully written analysis is highly recommended for those who want to learn from history to understand the future.” —Syaru Shirley Lin, University of Virginia

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Sulmaan Wasif Khan
Sulmaan Wasif Khan

Sulmaan Wasif Khan

Sulmaan Wasif Khan is the Denison Chair in History and International Relations at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He is the author of Haunted by Chaos and Muslim, Trader, Nomad, Spy. His writing has appeared in the Economist, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy.

Photo Credit: Anna Beth Keim

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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