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