Jonathan Mirsky

Crossing the Net

Ping-Pong Diplomacy: Ivor Montagu and the Astonishing Story Behind the Game That Changed the World

By

Simon & Schuster 336pp £20 order from our bookshop

In April 1972, just after Nixon’s breakthrough conversations with Mao Zedong, 12 academics with an interest in the Chairman – of whom I was one – were invited to China. We knew that the meeting had been made possible by the encounters between the American and Chinese ping-pong teams the year before. Although what happened in 1971 at the world ping-pong championships in Japan, where the first invitation to the Americans to visit China was extended, is known already, Nicholas Griffin’s narrative – though shaky on a few of the details on the Chinese side – is a worthy contribution to our understanding of this spectacular event in Chinese–US relations.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,