How Ping Pong Changed the World

Roundup
tags: diplomacy, Ping Pong



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More than four decades after the People’s Republic of China and the United States met for the first time over an unlikely table – a ping pong one – Anglo-American author Nick Griffin is the first to explore the details in his book Ping Pong Diplomacy.

It was that first meeting of athletes in April of 1971 that ultimately led the administration of Richard Nixon to seek détente with what had been regarded as an implacable and shadowy enemy. It is a fascinating book, dwelling on the game as much as the diplomacy. Freelancer writer Victor Fic interviewed Griffin recently after reading the book to learn the details.  The book is available through Amazon, hardcover, US$19.90, and is also on Kindle.

Q: How did the Beijing Olympics' ping pong match inspire your book?

A: I learned at the table tennis stadium that 300 million Chinese play at least weekly.  I immediately wondered why?

Q: Is your work the first ever to examine ping pong's history – and uses? 

A: More or less.  No one had quite pieced together that the sport’s history is wrapped up in espionage, the biographies of idiosyncratic individuals and vital geopolitics.

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