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White Tiger: An Autobiography of Yang Xianyi Paperback – April 9, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: The Chinese University Press (April 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 962996046X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9629960469
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in 1915 and educated in Oxford, Yang Xianyi is a world-renowned translator. He has translated, with his wife Gladys Yang, numerous Chinese classics such as A Dream of Red Mansions, The Scholars, and Selected Works of Lu Xun.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Little Wisdom on February 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a great work on Chinese intellectuals. However, you have to have some background in Chinese history and culture to really get it. I admire the author and his works greatly.

If you don't get it the first time, read it for a second time. Really, it is worth the time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peripeteia on January 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although he is defined to his readers simply as a prolific translator of Chinese literature, Yang Xian Yi's autobiography reveals that at heart, he is defined by his passions: for the better part of his life, he has enjoyed the warm companionship of poetry, of wine, of cigarettes and of his dear wife Gladys, whom he could never have met had he not journeyed overseas to study at Oxford as a young lad. Mr. Yang is, if anything, infallibly honest in relating everything he has experienced throughout his thrilling odyssey in such lively times. It is said that perhaps the worst curse one can bestow upon his enemy is, "May you live in interesting times." To be sure, Mr. Yang experienced China's period of chaotic transformation in the 20th century whether he wished to or not. But Mr. Yang would not likely have considered himself cursed; after finishing his autobiography, I sat still and marveled at this man's unyielding belief and love for his country, for his work, and for his loyal wife, who suffered four years of prison with him. Despite the hardships and bitterness endured the two never thought to blame anyone; rather they trudged on hand in hand, smiling for the future they knew would be better. This memoir is not about the life of a man lucky to have experienced adventure and escaped death. It is a vivid portrait of a patriot, one whose passion for his homeland was so endearing as to infect those around him with it: his friends at Oxford, his future wife Gladys, and a skeptical teenager sitting in the dark, reading and weeping for all the wrongs and denials he had silently given to his own motherland as a spoiled brat. And for that I must thank Yang Xian Yi and Gladys Yang: for what life could one lead, to live in denial of his true identity?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mac on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a refreshing view of China over the past century from an intellectual who speaks perfect English, rather than a translated document. Those who are in the translation and interpreter profession would get more out of it, especially if they have some understanding of China. For the rest of us, it touches a level of interest to help understand just a few Chinese views of themselves and the world in general.
The book and views of the author are somewhat controversial in relation to policy and government, so not suggested to send it to a friend inside China.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane Liedtke on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Long before the official publishing of White Tiger, I had the good fortune to live above Yang Xiangyi and his wife, Gladys, in an apartment in Beijing. Every night we'd gather on the front stoop or in the living room of the Yangs for drinks and stories. Stories of their lives in China. I was fastinated by their work, their dedication to literature, their lifestyle, and their kindness was genuine. On the very last night before I left to return to the USA, Yang gave me a box and asked me to take the box to the US and find a publisher for his autobiography. I was both stunned and honored. I promised him I would try. I returned to my apartment with the box - typed pages of manuscript with handwritten corrections. I began to read the manuscript and could NOT put it down - I read and read, all night long until I had completed it. When I returned to the US I tried several publishers but they were not interested - there were just too many novels coming out of China at the time about the cultural revolution that they just would not look at another. Despite my pleas that this was just "not the same," I was unsuccessful. When I returned to China I took the box back with me to Yang. I was both defeated and disappointed that I could not honor his request of me. Thankfully, one of his daughters was able to bring the project to fruition and now others can read this account of their lives. To know them for their stellar work in translation and to know them as friends and neighbors has been a real treasure in my life. Read this book and learn more about what life was like in China for the Yangs.
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