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Sterling Seagrave (April 15, 1937 – May 1, 2017) was an American historian. He was the author of The Soong Dynasty, The Marcos Dynasty, Gold Warriors and numerous other books which address unofficial and clandestine aspects of the 20th-century political history of countries in the Far East.

Sterling Seagrave
Born(1937-04-15)April 15, 1937
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMay 1, 2017(2017-05-01) (aged 80)
OccupationWriter, investigative journalist, and historian
SpousePeggy Sawyer Seagrave
ChildrenJocelyn (daughter); Sean (son)
RelativesGordon Seagrave (father)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Columbus, Ohio on April 15, 1937, Seagrave grew up on the China-Myanmar border, the fifth generation of an American family living in the Orient for nearly two centuries (his father was Dr. Gordon Seagrave, author of Burma Surgeon).[1] He and his family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas and he attended W. B. Ray Highschool from 1953 to 1955.


As an investigative journalist in Asia, Seagrave contributed to many major newspapers and magazines. His books include The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family, Opération Lys d'or (Operation Golden Lily in English), Yellow Rain: A Journey Through the Terror of Chemical Warfare, Dragon Lady, and "RED SKY in the morning".

Dragon Lady challenges the notion that the Empress Dowager Cixi used the Boxers in the Boxer Rebellion. Kang Youwei is said to be the source of false stories which stained her reputation. In the book, Cixi is portrayed sympathetically. Because Seagrave is sometimes criticized for sensationalism,[citation needed] this debunking of myths about the Empress attempts to lend credence to his account. Unfortunately, China historians Immanuel Hsü and Jonathan Spence both show how the Dowager Empress praised and supported the Boxers.[citation needed]

In its review of Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold, which dealt with allegations that post World War II the CIA had misappropriated billions of dollars of Japanese war loot,[2] BBC History Magazine noted that whilst "numerous gaps remain.... this is an important story, with far-reaching implications, that deserves to receive further attention".[3]


Sinologist affiliated with Hoover Institution, Donald G. Gillin, had written a book Falsifying China's History: The Case of Sterling Seagrave's The Soong Dynasty, criticizing the book The Soong Dynasty as being biased against Chiang Kai-shek.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Seagrave's collaborator and wife of 35 years was Peggy Sawyer Seagrave, who died about a year before her husband.[5]


Seagrave died on May 1, 2017 in France, where he had been living for more than 30 years with his wife. Seagrave's death was not announced publicly until July 31, 2017.[5]


  • Soong Dynasty, Sidg. & J, 1985, ISBN 978-0-283-99238-4
  • The Marcos Dynasty, Harper Collins, 1988, ISBN 978-0-06-015815-6
  • Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China, Vintage Books, New York, 1992 ISBN 0-679-73369-8.
  • Lords of the Rim, Putnam publishing, 1995, ISBN 978-0-552-14052-2
  • The Yamato Dynasty: The Secret History of Japan's Imperial Family, Broadway Books, 2000, ISBN 978-0-7679-0496-4
  • Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold, co-written with Peggy Seagrave, Verso, 2003 ISBN 978-1-85984-542-4.
  • RED SKY in the morning, Booksurge Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1-4392-4047-7


  1. ^ Seagrave, Gordon S., Burma Surgeon, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1943
  2. ^ Seagrave, Sterling; Seagrave, Peggy (2003). Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's Gold. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-85984-542-4.
  3. ^ Attar, Rob (January 2006). "Gold Warriors (review)". BBC History Magazine. Vol. 7 no. 1. Bristol Magazines Ltd. p. 62.
  4. ^ Donald G. Gillin (1986). Falsifying China's History: The Case of Sterling Seagrave's The Soong Dynasty. Hoover Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-8179-5093-4.
  5. ^ a b "Sterling Seagrave, 1937–2017". Verso Books. Retrieved 5 August 2017.