This concise account of Taiwan's history makes a cogent, compelling argument for the right of the Taiwanese people to declare their nation independent, if they so choose. Davison's bold stand—unprecedented from a Western author—challenges the one China notion advanced in the Shanghai Communique of 1972 and states unequivocally that, should independence be proclaimed, it could only be taken away by force if the international community sides with contemporary might over historical right. He argues that the possible conflict could be sufficiently incendiary to induce a major military clash between the United States, the People's Republic of China, and other major powers.Davison lets the facts of Taiwanese history make the case for Taiwan's existence as a unique national entity. A historical overview details the circumstances under which the Qing dynasty made its 17th century claim on the island, the events that led to cession to Japan in 1895, the origins of the Guomindang occupation during the Chinese Civil War, and the dramatic election of March 2000 that brought the Democratic Progressive Party's Chen Shuibian to office, ending Guomindang domination. After centuries of outsider domination, and over a hundred years of disconnection from any government exercising power over all of mainland China, the Taiwanese people are in a position to make a decision for national independence based on solid historical evidence.