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Return to the Middle Kingdom: One Family, Three Revolutionaries, and the Birth of Modern Chinaby Yuan Tsung Chen
Synopses & Reviews
In the spirit of the classic Wild Swans comes this epic tale spanning three generations and three separate revolutions. Mixing biography and history into a single ambitious story, Yuan-Tsung Chen views Chinaand#8217;s rebirth in modern times from the perspective of her late husbandand#8217;s family.and#160;
Ah Chen, a landless peasant, fought in the Taiping Rebellion against the Manchu court in 1850-64. But when Western powers helped crush the uprising, Chen was forced to flee to Trinidad as an indentured servant. Decades later, his son Eugene rose from poverty to become Trinidadand#8217;s first Chinese lawyer before moving to London, where he met Sun Yat-sen and became his close aide. Inspired by Sun, Eugene returned to China and led the 1911 revolution that overthrew its last dynasty.
Finally, Eugeneand#8217;s son Jackand#151;the authorand#8217;s late husbandand#151;used his artistic and journalistic talents to illustrate and explain the Chinese Marxist Revolution to the outside world. When Jack (whose first language was not Chinese) was seized by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, his wife Yuan-tsung was forced to serve as his translator during interrogations. Ordered to write a confessionand#151;and#147;Go back three generations to see what crimes your family has committed against the revolution!and#8221;and#151;Jack and Yuan-tsung began to piece together the familyand#8217;s dramatic history.and#160;
This remarkable story, spanning a turbulent century and a half, is the compelling result.
"The rise of modern China serves as a backdrop for Chen's engrossing saga of her late husband Jack's family. In three generations the Chens journeyed in the 1860s from China to Trinidad, later to London, and back to China, rising from landless peasant to revolutionary, from aide to China's first president, Sun Yat-sen, to editorial cartoonist. The intimate, often harrowing details of Chen's (The Dragon's Village) potent narrative, which includes revolutions, political turmoil and warfare, present a vivid panorama of the people behind China's development. B&w photos. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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