VCU President Eugene P. Trani co-authors book on U.S. relations with Russia and China

Book released by University of Missouri Press

The University of Missouri Press has just released “Distorted Mirrors: Americans and Their Relations with Russia and China in the Twentieth Century,” co-authored by Virginia Commonwealth University President Eugene P. Trani and Donald E. Davis, professor emeritus of history at Illinois State University.

The book is based on the premise that the United States is entering the 21st century facing two world powers that loomed less large in the previous century based on policies that were shaped by attitudes and relations of a different era.

“Distorted Mirrors traces American prejudices toward the two countries by focusing on the views of influential writers and politicians over the course of the Twentieth Century,” according to the University of Missouri Press. “Donald Davis and Eugene Trani show where American images of Russia and China originated, how they evolved, and how they have often helped sustain foreign policies generally negative toward the former and positive toward the latter.

“Distorted Mirrors marks a fresh approach to U.S. relations with these countries, emphasizing long-term attitudes that influenced policies rather than the reverse. It shows us that perceptions shaped over the course of the twentieth century are crucial for their bearing on the twenty-first, particularly if those unrestrained prejudices re-emerge,” according to the University of Missouri Press statement.

Trani and Davis will give a talk on the book at 3 p.m. on June 23 at the Grace Street Theater, 930-934 W. Grace St. It will be followed by a book signing at the VCU Barnes and Noble bookstore at 4 p.m at 1111 W. Broad St.

The book soon will be published in Russian by Vagrius Press, in Chinese by Peking University Press and in Spanish by the University of Cordoba.

Trani and Davis also are the authors of “The First Cold War: The Legacy of Woodrow Wilson in U.S.-Soviet Relations,” published in 2002 by the University of Missouri Press

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see