“ Eloquent, bittersweet, memorable reflections.”
Past to Present
A Reporter’s Story of War, Spies, People, and Politics. Lyons Press
William Stevenson may be best known for his friendship with---and best selling book about---William Stephenson, otherwise known as Intrepid whose spy network and secret diplomacy changed the course of history. In Past to Present readers will be equally fascinated by the author’s own extraordianary life as a British naval fighter pilot during World War II and as a distinguished journalist and war correspondent covering the last half of the twentieth century. Past to Present chronicles the major events of Stevenson’s life before and after WWII and describes in rich detail the personal relationships he had with many of modern history’s greatest figures. As a reporter he traveled the world to meet with larger-than-life figures such as Ian Fleming, Prime Minister Nehru, Ho Chi Minh, Chiang Kai Shek, Mao Tse-tung, Zhou Enlai, Marshal Tito, Nikita Khrushchev and the King of Thailand. Always privy to top secret intelligence, Stevenson has led a life of international intrigue that few could ever imagine. The story of his real life escapades and personal encounters will leave readers breathless.
Mouth dry, face red, I attempt a stiff, little bow. What’s the protocol in a situation like this? I know the history of ruthlessly destroying anyone who got in his way on the Long March to communist victory. I can only stutter in awkward Mandarin, “I am an Englishman.”
Mao smiles. “And I am Chinese,” he replies politely in English.
He pats my arm and turns to greet a new arrival: India’s Prime Minister Nehru. All the comrades move like mechanical dolls. In a well-rehearsed drill, they close around us. We are conjoined, Mao, Nehru, and me, as if figures in a Chinese opera, except there is no squeal of instruments, no wail of operatic voices. I imagine a roll of drums, a blast of trumpets. In reality all is silent until Mao’s multilingual interpreter, Huang Hua, gives me a toothy smile and says softly in fluent English. “You are welcome to spend the day with us.”
---From Past to Present