Fascinating. This book popped up on my radar screen recently and it is another book that might be of interest to the readership here. I have yet to pick up a copy but it looks super interesting.
Basically Homer Lea was a guy that leveraged his knowledge of military history and Asia to carve out quite a career. He was also an author that wrote some very prophetic books about the coming world events and wars of that time. The crazy thing is that he never served in the military because he was too ill.
But what he lacked physically, he certainly made up for mentally. He is like a Stephen Hawking of military strategy and history–combining it all in his drive to be a player in China and shape world events. (all with the blessing of the US) Homer also combined it all to write some incredible books, which some were turned into movies back then. That says much about his influence and impact.
Probably the one little tidbit about Homer that really intrigued me was that he was very fond of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. The first English translation of this book was in 1905, and I imagine Homer was able to draw much from this book and express these ideas in his thoughts about current events back then. He was also probably one of the few westerners of the time that was actually heavily influenced by this book, as well as the Civil War and other wars in Europe.
The author of the book also has a research center dedicated to Homer Lea. It is worth your time checking out, and it will give you a good picture about this incredible individual. Homer would have been a really cool blogger to read if he was alive during these times.lol
Anyways, check it out and enjoy. I will keep it in the Jundi Gear locker if you ever want to come back to it and find it. If anyone has read this book, I would love to hear your input about it. -Matt
Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune
By Lawrence M. Kaplan
As a five-feet-three-inch hunchback who weighed about 100 pounds, Homer Lea (1876–1912), was an unlikely candidate for life on the battlefield, yet he became a world-renowned military hero. In the Dragon’s Lair: The Exploits of Homer Lea paints a revealing portrait of a diminutive yet determined man who never earned his valor on the field of battle, but left an indelible mark on his times.
Lawrence M. Kaplan draws from extensive research to illuminate the life of a “man of mystery,” while also yielding a clearer understanding of the early twentieth-century Chinese underground reform and revolutionary movements. Lea’s career began in the inner circles of a powerful Chinese movement in San Francisco that led him to a generalship during the Boxer Rebellion. Fixated with commanding his own Chinese army, Lea’s inflated aspirations were almost always dashed by reality. Although he never achieved the leadership role for which he strived, he became a trusted advisor to revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Manchu Dynasty.
As an author, Lea garnered fame for two books on geopolitics: The Valor of Ignorance, which examined weaknesses in the American defenses and included dire warnings of an impending Japanese-American war, and The Day of the Saxon, which predicted the decline of the British Empire. More than a character study, In the Dragon’s Lair provides insight into the establishment and execution of underground reform and revolutionary movements within U.S. immigrant communities and in southern China, as well as early twentieth-century geopolitical thought.
Find the book here.
The author on CSPAN discussing book. (video)