Ancestors : 900 Years in the Life of a Chinese Family

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Product details

  • Hardback | 512 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 60.96mm | 1,179.33g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Ill.
  • 0245546758
  • 9780245546754

Review Text

Ching, born in Hong Kong and educated in British schools until his emigration to the US at age 19, became interested in his ancestors while working for the Asian Wall Street Journal. Full impetus for his research into the history of the Qin Clan of Wuxi came when he received a beaten volume of fragile rice paper containing "the names of all my ancestors for the last thirty-three generations, going back in time nine hundred years, to the eleventh century." Such records, virtually unheard of in the West, are also rare in China, especially since the Cultural Revolution. From the first recorded ancestor - Qin Guan, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty whose grave Ching uncovered on his first return trip to the family homeland of Wuxi - to Ching's father, a brilliant lawyer who was a delegate to China's constitutional assembly in the 1930's, Ching has unearthed hundreds of details about his family. For the most part, his ancestors were scholars, poets, and members of the Imperial bureaucracy under both Ming and Ching emperors. A millenium of Chinese history comes to life in Ching's proud, brisk narrative - and nearly every page is a moving testament to the persistence and importance of the past, from the 900-year-old grave of Qin Guan, to the Wuxi spring famous over the centuries for its tea-brewing waters, to the peasant family that has tended Qin family graves for 350 years. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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