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Return to the Middle Kingdom: One Family, Three Revolutionaries, and the Birth of Modern China Hardcover – June 3, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Union Square Press (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402756976
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402756979
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,424,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Chen traces her husband’s family back through several generations, spanning 150 years of Chinese history. Her husband’s grandfather, Joseph, was born a peasant but participated in the Taiping Rebellion. After the rebellion failed, Joseph eventually made his way to Trinidad, where he raised his family, including son Eugene, who got his start as a lawyer. In 1912, Eugene answered Sun Yatsen’s call for Chinese expatriates to return home to effect change in the government, journeying to Peking and beginning a new career as a muckraking journalist intent on challenging the corrupt new government. Eugene’s efforts eventually landed him in jail, but he stayed true to his ideals and passed them on to his son Jack, who accompanied his father on a trip to Russia. Jack became a political cartoonist and allied with Mao against Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-Communist government, but he soon soured on the leader when he saw the direction the Cultural Revolution took. Anyone with an interest in Chinese politics and history will find this an informative and engaging read. --Kristine Huntley

Review

"'Yuan-tsung Chen has written a compelling story of China's revolutionary history' Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club"

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Xu Yin Bai on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book provides an in-depth account of how events in the past 100 years have shaped the modern China and the involvement of one family during this period. A must read for anyone who is interested in China and likes good story telling!!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book about the Chen family and twentieth-century China. The chapters that show how Eugene Chen, the author's father-in-law, tried to help shape a responsible government in the 1920's are especially good. Eugene Chen, who grew up in Trinidad and spoke almost no Chinese, became a chief advisor to Sun Yatsen as well as his foreign minister. His greatest accomplishment was to take back two British concessions in Wuhan after he tricked the British into abandoning them. However, constant strife among warlords, Communists, colonial powers and Chaing Kishek doomed his government. Later chapters cover the period after 1950, especially the Cultural Revolution.

The book is a good read, but I found it difficult to get past the first chapter. This chapter discusses Ms Chen's grandfather-in-law and his role in the nineteenth-century Taiping rebellion. The author caveats much of what she says to the point of distraction. Once I got to where she discusses Eugene Chen, I read through the book at a good clip.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought a lot of China-related books at one time and it took a while before I started reading this one. However, I couldn't stop reading when I began because it was very detailed and down to earth. The people the author described in the book were both realists and idealists in a sense they all wanted a better future not only for themselves but others. I wish there was more information regarding the grandfather though. That was an interesting time and it would be nice to get a view of life through the average Chinese person rather than an Academian. Chen Youren, or Eugene Chen deserves an entire book devoted to his life.

I recommend this book because it's just great reading in general.
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the book and felt it was a worthwhile read. Told from the perspective of an insider,(Yuan-tsung Chen) it expanded my views and knowledge of China and how it became what it is today.
I highly recommend the book for both the entertainment and education value. If you have or hope to have business or investments in China, the book could be of great value.
Thanks for your work Ms Chen,
Brad Linder
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