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The Girl from Purple Mountain Love, Honor, War, and One Family's Journey from China to America (Paperback)

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The Girl from Purple Mountain Chai, May-Lee/ Chai, Winberg 1 of 1
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FORMAT: Paperback
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Description
 

Learn more about The Girl from Purple Mountain:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0312302703
ISBN-13: 9780312302702
Sku: 31007260
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 9.25H x 6L x 1T
Pages:  320
Age Range:  NA
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In The Girl from Purple Mountain, Winberg Chai and his daughter May-lee explore their family's history to reconstruct the extraordinary life of its matriarch. Ruth Mei-en Tsao Chai was born in China in the early 1900s, during the reign of the last emperor. Educated by American missionaries, she was one of the first women admitted into a Chinese university, during an era when most Chinese women were illiterate and had bound feet. Later, as the Japanese Army advanced across China during World War II, her quick thinking kept her family alive as they fled and eventually immigrated to the U.S. This is a true family epic set against the shifting tides of 20"th"-century China.
From the Publisher:
A first-born son and his daughter reconstruct his mother's extraordinary life as one of the first women admitted into a Chinese university during an era when most Chinese women were illiterate, and her secret arrangements to be buried alone rather than in the plot she and her devoted husband purchased.
A family memoir set against the shifting tides of twentieth-century China, The Girl from Purple Mountain begins with a mystery: the Chai family matriarch, Ruth Mei-en Tsao Chai, dies unexpectedly and her grieving husband discovers that she had secretly arranged to be buried alone—rather than in the shared plots they had purchased together years ago.

For many years, Ruth's family remained shocked by her decision and could not begin to fathom her motivations. Over time, they would fully understand her extraordinary story. Ruth was born in China at the beginning of the 20th century, during the reign of the last emperor. Educated by American missionaries, she was one of the first women admitted into a Chinese university, during an era when most Chinese women were illiterate and had bound feet. She would defy tradition and refuse to marry the man her family had chosen for her, instead choosing his younger brother as her husband. Later, as the Japanese Army advanced across China during World War II, her foresight and quick thinking kept her family alive as she, her husband, and their three sons were forced to flee from city to city. In war-torn Chungking, she was Lady Mountbatten's interpreter as the Allies struggled to help China. After the war, the Chais immigrated to the U.S. to what seemed, until Ruth's death, a happier and more peaceful life.

In this extraordinary family epic, Ruth's first-born son, Winberg, and his daughter May-lee explore family history to reconstruct her life as they seek to understand her fateful decision. As Winberg writes: "It is my duty to try to understand my mother, to seek answers. To ignore the past is too much like forgetting . . . I hope my memories are enough to fulfill a son's obligations."
Annotation:
Winberg Chai was confused to learn after his mother's death that she had arranged to be buried in a private plot, rather than in the grave site she and her husband purchased together. Here, Chai and his daughter explore the life of this fiercely independent woman who was among the first women admitted to a Chinese university and had refused an arranged marriage.

Praise

Publishers Weekly
"[T]his is a gripping and historically grounded read." 05/14/2001

New York Times Book Review
"By far the most successful parts of the memoir are those concerning Winberg's own nomadic childhood...[T]here are some genuinely effective episodes in the book. One of the best comes about halfway through, when Winberg describes an impromptu visit to the Chai clan temple during the family's hurried flight from Nanjing...." - Gary Krist 07/08/2001

Washington Post Book World
"THE GIRL FROM PURPLE MOUNTAIN is no diatribe on the evils of communism. Indeed, the authors do not hesitate to recount atrocities committed by the U.S.-backed Chiang Kai-shek in his single-minded assault on the Chinese communists. But this is not the purpose of the book either. While drawing on the works of historians such as Sterling Seagrave, Barbara Tuchman, Jonathan Spence and Iris Chang, the Chais' memoir also resonates with the intensely personal perspectives on family relations, rivalries and resentments found in the autobiographical writings of Han Suyin. " - Lori Tsang 07/22/2001

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0320
Product attributePublisher:   St. Martin's Griffin
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