Golden Inches

Golden Inches

by John S. Service, Grace Service
     
 


"(An) engrossing memoir .... To turn everything recorded here--births, an infant death, family uprootings, civil turmoil, maintaining an American household in the interior of China--into gold requires an alchemy that only a beautiful, strong-minded, witty and loving wife and mother can hold the secret to."
--John Espey, Washington Post Book…  See more details below

Overview


"(An) engrossing memoir .... To turn everything recorded here--births, an infant death, family uprootings, civil turmoil, maintaining an American household in the interior of China--into gold requires an alchemy that only a beautiful, strong-minded, witty and loving wife and mother can hold the secret to."
--John Espey, Washington Post Book World
 
"A wonderful, sad, moving memoir by an indomitable American . . . Golden Inches not only gives many fascinating glimpses of historical events; more important, it shows us what it meant to live through those events and deal with them without rancor, resentment or facile anger and enthusiasm."
--Tracy B. Strong, New York Times Book Review
 
"This closely observed portrait of living in isolated missionary communities and treaty ports, against the background of one of the most turbulent periods of twentieth-century Chinese history, is an important document. It is also a moving story of one family's obsessive and destructive love affair with China."
--Tiffany Brown, Times Literary Supplement

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1905 Grace Service and her YMCA missionary husband Bob set sail from California on the Mongolia bound for Shanghai. In this simple, unpretentious memoir, depicting the sights, sounds and landscapes of a bygone China, she records their trip up the Yangtze on houseboat, th e n by pole-mounted sedan chair to China's far western region. Her infant daughter's death made the journey a tragic one, but over the next 30 years in China, the Services raised three sons and had adventures criss-crossing the country. The author's brief firsthand impressions of the anti-Manchurian revolution of 1911, the Japanese invasion in the 1930s and other political events are amplified by her son John in footnotes. Atmospheric snapshots are interwoven with the text. In 1934-1935, Bob lost his YMCA job and the family's savings vanished overnight in the Shanghai financial collapse. Broken in spirit, Bob fell ill and died, and his wife eventually settled in California. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Service, a diplomat in China during the 1940s and a widely respected mentor to many scholars of China, has carefully reworked his mother's memoir about life in China into a book for general readership. Grace and her husband, Robert Roy Service, went to China in 1906 as ``student volunteers'' for the YMCA. Grace Service was an avid writer, who penned an estimated 600 letters a year and maintained a journal from which, 30 years later, she created a memoir. Although there are moments of adventure and excitement in this account, its strongest qualities reflect the decorous but frugal life of American Protestant missionaries in China. Readers will be struck by the emotional and material restraint of these Protestant missionaries, who in their lives exemplify the values that have had such a strong impact on our nation. Recommended for reflective readers.-- David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520074163
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
02/01/1991
Series:
Lilienthal Imprint Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.84(d)

Meet the Author


This memoir was completed shortly after Grace Service returned from China in 1937. Her eldest son, John S. Service, a Foreign Service officer in China from 1933 to 1945 and a member of General Stilwell's advisory staff, has provided historical contexts and illustrations for the events described in his mother's narrative.

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