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Chong tells the story of her grandmother, brought from China by a man to the New World. The man's wife and children left behind, and the author incredibly discovers those children six decades later.
As Chinese students demonstrated for democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989, three Chinese men peppered the square's giant portrait of Mao Zedong with 30 paint-filled eggs. Instead of inciting further protests, this act had the opposite result: student leaders turned the three egg-throwers over to the police. In her first book in almost ten years, Chong tells the story of one of these men, Lu Decheng, an auto mechanic from Hunan province. Weaving together the stories of Lu's childhood, the planning and execution of the protest, and Lu's imprisonment after his arrest, the author shows delineates the unlikely path that took Lu from an anonymous life in small-town China to risking everything to make a political statement. Based on the author's numerous interviews with Lu and with sources in China, this book will appeal to anyone interested in China, in human rights, or in an excellent read.
On June 8, 1972, nine-year-old Kim Phuc, severely burned by napalm, ran from a misplaced air strike over her village in South Vietnam and into the eye of history. Her photograph--one of the most unforgettable images of the twentieth century--was seen around the world and helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War. This book is the story of how that photograph came to be--and the story of what happened to that girl after the blink of the camera shutter. After years in rehabilitation, and a long battle to survive in a devasted and corrupt country, Kim Phuc defected to the West in 1992 and is now a UNESCO spokesperson. "The Girl in the Picture" is at once a riveting personal story about a victim of war and of propaganda and a groundbreaking social history that offers a rare view of everyday life in Vietnam during and after the war. Nick Ut of the Associated Press took the haunting photo, which turned a terrified girl into a living symbol of the Vietnam War's horror when a South Vietnamese air force napalm strike went wrong. Award-winning Canadian biographer Denise Chong (The Concubine's Children) has written an authorized biography of Kim Phuc that is both a rare look at the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese point-of-view and one of the only books to describe everyday life in the aftermath of this war. The book unearths the lingering effects on all the war's participants and unblinkingly presents graphic depictions of the horrors that the war visited on innocent civilians. Although her parents, once relatively prosperous South Vietnamese peasants, were reduced to dire poverty when the state took over her mother's noodle shop, Kim was allowed to receive further medical treatment in Germany. But amidst these tragedies Chong finds a redemptive story in Phuc's life, which, thankfully, has a happy ending. Through the heroic efforts of Nick Ut, British correspondent Christopher Wain and others, the girl was taken to an excellent hospital in Saigon. Through 17 operations (in 24 months), an international team of doctors saved her life. Later, she fled Vietnam and lives today with her husband in Canada with their two sons. Though in near constant pain and still with the deep scarring of entire back, Phuc works as an unpaid goodwill ambassador for UNESCO and runs her own foundation for child victims of war. Chong captures Kim as a complex woman of powerful religious faith: "It was the fire of bombs that burned my body. It was the skill of doctors that mended my skin. But it took the power of God's love to heal my heart. Finalist for the 2000 Governor General's Award. By the author of the award-winning memoir "The Concubine's Children".
International bestselling author of The Concubine's Children, Denise Chong returns to the subject of her most beloved book, the lives and times of Canada's early Chinese families. In 2011, Denise Chong set out to collect the history of the earliest Chinese settlers in and around Ottawa, who made their homes far from any major Chinatown. Many would open cafes, establishments that once dotted the landscape across the country and were a monument to small-town Canada. This generation of Chinese immigrants lived at the intersection of the Exclusion Act in Canada, which divided families between here and China, and 2 momentous upheavals in China: the Japanese invasion and war-time occupation; and the victory of the Communists, which ultimately led these settlers to sever ties with China. This book of overlapping stories explores the trajectory of a universal immigrant experience, one of looking in the rear view mirror while at the same time, travelling toward an uncertain future. Intimate, haunting and powerful, Lives of the Family reveals the immigrant's tenacity in adapting to a new world.
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