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Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China: Tragedy and Splendor

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Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China

Tragedy and Splendor

By Matthias Messmer

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Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Published In: United States, 05 December 2013
Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China: Tragedy and Splendor is a cross-cultural collection of carefully researched and well-documented biographies of many previously little known Western visitors to China who experienced at first hand China's revolution and rise in the 20th century. Their experiences and insights can help readers to better appreciate the complex situation of modern China today, for they have a timeless quality.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Names and Orthography Introduction: Individuals, Biographies and Lifeworlds Chapter 1. The Long Established: Jewish Old China Hands I. Descendants: Jews with Sephardi Roots II. Russian Jews Originating from the Czarist Empire Chapter 2. Jewish Travelers: Temporarily and Voluntarily in China I. Journalists II. Couriers, Emissaries and Advisors III. Adventurers and Lone Wolves IV. Diplomats V. Research Travelers and Travel Authors VI. Physicians VII. Independents and Freelancers Chapter 3. Refugees Driven from Europe to the Far East Chapter 4. "Foreign Experts" and Supporters of Mao's Revolution Endnotes Bibliography

Promotional Information

"Jews in China doesn't sound like an obvious topic at first blush but Messmer has compiled an extensive, admirable and fascinating collection of vignettes of a displaced people surviving and living through the most tumultuous time in China's history." -A. Tom Grunfeld, Empire State College "In the pages of this amazing and unique book men and women come alive who arrived in China for longer or shorter periods of time. Hailing from Europe and elsewhere, there were merchants and journalists, physicians and writers, adventurers and communists, and refugees from Nazi Germany. They witnessed one of the most turbulent periods in Chinese history, their lives forever affected by what they saw and experienced. In vivid portrayals the author masterfully allows us glimpses of such women as Emily Hahn and Ruth Weiss, or men like Harold Isaacs and Theodore White and how they viewed "their" China. Many like Willy Tonn regretfully left the China they had come to consider their own. Others like Israel Epstein and Sidney Shapiro remained in the country which they loved and where they felt they belonged. This is a superbly stimulating book." -Irene Eber, Louis Frieberg Professor of East Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

About the Author

Matthias Messmer was born 1967 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He received his M.A. in Political Science, Law and Economics (St. Gallen) and Ph.D. in Social Sciences (Konstanz). His research is focused on intercultural subjects and topics related to China and Chinese culture. Dr. Messmer is also affiliated with the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, as Senior Research Fellow and his projects include cultural documentation and criticism in the form of writing and photography. He has previously published books (in German) such as Soviet and Post-Communist Antisemitism (1997) and China-West-Eastern Encounters (2007).

Reviews

Jews in China doesn't sound like an obvious topic at first blush but Messmer has compiled an extensive, admirable, and fascinating collection of vignettes of a displaced people surviving and living through the most tumultuous time in China's history. -- A. Tom Grunfeld, Empire State College In the pages of this amazing and unique book men and women come alive who arrived in China for longer or shorter periods of time. Hailing from Europe and elsewhere, there were merchants and journalists, physicians and writers, adventurers and communists, and refugees from Nazi Germany. They witnessed one of the most turbulent periods in Chinese history, their lives forever affected by what they saw and experienced. In vivid portrayals the author masterfully allows us glimpses of such women as Emily Hahn and Ruth Weiss, or men like Harold Isaacs and Theodore White and how they viewed 'their' China. Many like Willy Tonn regretfully left the China they had come to consider their own. Others like Israel Epstein and Sidney Shapiro remained in the country which they loved and where they felt they belonged. This is a superbly stimulating book. -- Irene Eber Dr Matthias Messmer, a Swiss author and journalist, recently published a book titled "Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China: Tragedy and Splendor" that deals with the memories and biographies of Jewish personalities. Shanghai Daily Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China is, indeed, panoramic: the book profiles a fascinating array of personalities whose only unifying characteristic is Jewish ethnicity... Matthias Messmer... has vacuumed up details from newspapers, memoirs, academic archives, interviews, and other sources, and stitched them together into life narratives in an impressive feat of coordination and stamina... As a reference volume for China through diverse Jewish eyes, then, this book succeeds. And it may serve as a blueprint for future writers seeking to articulate the depth and complexity of the 'Jewish experience' in China. South China Morning Post "Through a collection of short biographies situated in the context of Chinese and Western history, it offers a panoramic view of China as experiences by many different persons of Jewish origins during their sojourn in the Middle Kingdom" "Divided into four chapters the book deals with Jewish old China hands, such as the Sasoon and Kadoorie families and the Russian Jews from Czarist Empire. It then focuses on the travelers, journalists, couriers, emissaries, explorers, physicians, the refugees and 'foreign experts'." "The book offers a magical journey back through time using carefully-researched biographies in a wide variety of typical and less typical Western visitors" Jewish Times Readers of Jewish Wayfarers in Modern China will be amazed and astonished to learn how many Jews have influenced Chinese history. Finally, within one volume, an amazing, fascinating, exciting collection of old China hands, travelers, advisers, adventurers, diplomats, explorers, physicians, refugees, and even Mao's inner circle, will dazzle every reader. Jewish Book Council

EAN: 9780739190913
ISBN: 0739190911
Publisher: Lexington Books
Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 1.7 centimetres (0.44 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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