Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Book Review: Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard

In his latest book, professor Bruce Jacobs walks us through the key trials surrounding the Kaohsiung Incident and gets down and personal with his own troubles with the Taiwanese authorities at the time.  

Following his sweeping history of Taiwan’s democratization (Democratizing Taiwan, Brill: 2012), Taiwan hand Bruce Jacobs in his latest book narrows the scope of his research by focusing on the Kaohsiung Incident of 1979-1980 and the trials of pro-democracy activists that followed. In this slim two-part volume titled The Kaohsiung Incident in Taiwan and Memoirs of a Foreign Big Beard, Jacobs provides the context in which the events leading to the transformative incident occurred — what he calls the “Dangwai setting” when civil society pressured the authoritarian Kuomintang (KMT) to open the space for political participation — and through a blow-by-blow exploration of the military trial of eight key defendants shows how those developments ultimately contributed to Taiwan’s democratization. Most of the defendants, along with their defense lawyers, would eventually assume key positions in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and later on in government. 

Continues here.

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