A Thousand Pieces of Gold: Growing up through China's Proverbs

A Thousand Pieces of Gold: Growing up through China's Proverbs

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by Adeline Yen Mah
     
 

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In this poignant memoir the New York Times bestselling author of Falling Leaves, Adeline Yen Mah, provides a fascinating window into the history and cultural soul of China. Combining personal reflections, rich historical insights, and proverbs handed down to her by her grandfather, Yen Mah shares the wealth of Chinese civilization with Western readers

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Overview

In this poignant memoir the New York Times bestselling author of Falling Leaves, Adeline Yen Mah, provides a fascinating window into the history and cultural soul of China. Combining personal reflections, rich historical insights, and proverbs handed down to her by her grandfather, Yen Mah shares the wealth of Chinese civilization with Western readers. Exploring the history behind the proverbs, she delves into the lives of the first and second emperors and the two rebel warriors who changed the course of Chinese life, adding stories from her own life to beautifully illustrate their relevance and influence today.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“Yen Mah draws these parallels gracefully...readers are treated to a nice dim sum of historical insight.”
Ireland on Sunday
“The journey she takes us on… is fascinating, proving that stories are everywhere, even in the humble proverb.’
Publishers Weekly
As she related in her memoir, Falling Leaves, Chinese-born writer Yen Mah has earned her sense of victimhood. She was resented and punished by her family for the death of her mother during childbirth. With the deaths of her brutal father and stepmother, Yen Mah ended her quest for filial love. Though this new work discusses events and themes similar to those of Falling Leaves, it is largely free of the mawkish notions of what family life should be like that burdened that work. This leaves the current book with more room for what many readers will find more enlightening: the history and use of Chinese proverbs, which she traces to their origin in the ancient writings of Sima Qian, China's venerable historian and chronicler of the great power struggles that crippled the Middle Kingdom's first dynasty 2,200 years ago. Yen Mah recalls points in her life where Sima's poignant proverbs resonate. Descriptions of the early emperors' extravagance and sadism are both repulsive and captivating, and make for sometimes interesting comparisons with the battles fought by Yen Mah in her privileged but cruel home. More often, though, the disparity between the tyranny imposed upon the Chinese peasantry and the disloyalty and neglect endured by the author tends toward self-pity. Many of the digressions into Yen Mah's personal history relate her childhood relationship with her estranged elder brother, who has not spoken to her since her first memoir was published. These passages make the book read at times like a desperate letter the author should have written to him. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060006419
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
744,941
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)

Meet the Author

Adeline Yen Mah is a physician and the author of Watching the Tree, Chinese Cinderella, and the international bestseller Falling Leaves. Dr. Mah is married and has two children. She divides her time between Huntington Beach, California and London, England.

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A Thousand Pieces of Gold: Growing up through China's Proverbs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Im a warrior.
2356 More than 1 year ago
you get to a glimpse of the past with a mirror example of the present truly the past is worth cherishing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Thousand Pieces of Gold written by Adeline Yen Mah, was an extraordinary book. This book is composed of two interwoven tales: an autobiography of the author's life from the 1950s to the 1990s, and the history of China's formative years. From these two tales, the author illustrated the lessons of life, love, war, and diplomacy practiced 3000 years ago by feudal warlords which are still applicable today, and also in the case of the author¿s life. In each chapter of the book, the author named some famous Chinese proverbs. Each proverb in the book was dedicated to the historical origins and how they applied to the author¿s life and life in general. What I dislike about the book was how unfair Adeline had to go through with life the kind of suffering she had to endure. My liking to this book leads on the load of interesting information on China¿s history and the facts about the Chinese cultures. Learning the new Chinese culture has indeed been an eye-opener for me being I¿m Chinese. It showed me how different Chinese culture can be in different countries. If you are a student of Chinese history, or you're simply curious about Chinese cultures, definitely read this book. It showed forth a unique insight not only China of the past, but China now and in the future. Overall, the book is good reading. It provides insight into the foundations of Chinese culture, how Chinese think, and the mindset of the Chinese people. To a lesser degree it also serves to illustrate the differences between Chinese and Western cultures.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Kiss your
Anonymous 5 months ago
*kills all the stupid cats*
Anonymous 9 months ago
CAT____________POSITION <br> Mistystar_______Leader <br> Harry___________UNKNOWN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is worth more than a thousand pieces of gold. It's stands in building the gap throught history & proverbs, chinese style. I would recommed this & Mah's other books for all Chinese/American Teens to read. This book is chuck full of history and culture. It maks us think; we all seem to take life for granted and not cherish the past.