Ancestors: Nine Hundred Years in the Life of a Chinese Family

Ancestors: Nine Hundred Years in the Life of a Chinese Family

by Francis D. K. Ching

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Chinese tradition, to forget one's ancestors is contemptibleyet to trace them back to the 11th century, as the author has done, is quite a feat. Ching, who grew up in Hong Kong and is now an American citizen, began his quest in 1979, when he was the Wall Street Journal's Peking correspondent. Focusing on some 20 members of his family, prominent figures all, and with the aid of a 17-volume family record that survived the Cultural Revolution, Ching has produced what virtually amounts to a social and political history of China. Among the family members are a romantic poet, a military hero, an imperial ghost-writer, a minister of punishments and a woman noted for her skills in both poetry and the martial arts. And there's scarcely an aspect of Chinese life, from shamanism to bloody rebellion, that Ching doesn't touch upon in this engrossing narrative. Photos. (March)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Ching is a Chinese-American journalist who is descended from an influential and wealthy lineage that can trace its ancestry back 900-odd years. When Ching was assigned to the reopened China beat in 1978, he started on a personal quest for his roots. The result has some similarity to Alex Haley's Roots , but rests on a much stronger documentary basis, for his clan left behind extensive genealogies and is mentioned in local histories, etc. Ching has modified a traditional Chinese literary formof retelling and preserving a lineage's historyfor a Western audience. While his careful attention to the documentary evidence makes his book somewhat dry, it will be appreciated by more serious readers.David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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