My Years in Nanking — Gripping Memoir of Republic of China’s Last Days by Nanking’s First Lady (ISBN: 978-1440122569)

May 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Gripping Memoir of Republic of China’s Last Days
by Nanking’s First Lady

My Years in Nanking

“My Years in Nanking: Reminiscences of Inyeening Shen”
Edited by Jane Shen Schopf
(iUniverse, 2009, 192 pages, $19.95 paperback, ISBN: 978-1-4401-2256-9)

Sixty years after the fall of the Republic of China, join the former First Lady of Nanking, Inyeening Shen, as she tells her remarkable personal journey in “My Years in Nanking: Reminiscenes of Inyeening Shen.” She helped her husband Dr. Shen Yi, the Mayor of Nanking, lead the national capital through the turmoil of the country’s final days.

In the late 1940s, after the Sino-Japanese War and the Nanking Massacre, Mao Zedong’s Communist People’s Liberation Army surged toward Nanking. Amid a country plagued by corruption, inflation and backroom dealing, Shen overthrew gender roles as she struggled to maintain the mayoral household.

For more than 50 years, Shen (who died in 1999) safeguarded her handwritten memoirs from being published, fearful of criticizing her husband’s colleagues in Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government. Now the world is ready to learn how Shen navigated the country’s inner politics during its pivotal time.

“Mom had published books, essays and poems in Chinese, but this memoir was her only work in English,” says Shen’s daughter and editor Dr. Jane Shen Schopf.

Eleven gripping chapters chronicle how she forged friendships with diplomats, collaborated with Chiang Kai-shek’s wife Soong Mayling and organized relief for Nanking’s refugees.

This book includes a prologue, a foreword placing the work in context of China’s 20th century military and social history, and more than 150 transliterations of Chinese terms and phrases. More than 70 never-before-published historical photographs and an historical map complement the book.

“This moving, personal journey, set within a concrete historical framework,” writes Beverly Friend, the Executive Director of China Judaic Studies Association, “provides fascinating reading for students, scholars, history buffs, and anyone who wants to delve beneath factual details to experience the human struggles that lie within.

About Inyeening Shen and Dr. Jane Shen Schopf
Prof. Inyeening Shen (1907-1999) was the First Lady of Nanking, and authored books, essays and poetry. She was a university professor, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree. She was also a student of China’s grandmaster painter Chang Ta-Ch’ien.

Dr. Jane Shen Schopf, her daughter and editor, is an internationally-known plant biologist at UCLA.

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