Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Rape of Nanking

A wonderful surprise came in the mail the other day: a new book by my friend Dr. Hua-Ling Hu, who is soon moving back to Southern Illinois from Colorado. Hu is also the author of American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking: The Courage of Minnie Vautrin.

This new book The Undaunted Women of Nanking: The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-fang is edited and translated by Hu and Zhang Lian-hong. It is published by Southern Illinois University Press as was the first book.

An Illinois missionary to China, Minnie Vautring stood up to the Japanese soldiers and their bayonets during the military occupation of Nanking, China. I only learned about her from Hu's first book, and I am eager to learn about her Chinese assistant and trained nurse Tsen Shui-fang in this new book. This new book is the first translation and publication in English of her diary.

It is estimated that anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 Chinese were killed by the Japanese soldiers during the occupation. Between 20,000 to 80,000 women were raped. Despite Vautrin's and Shui-fang's exhaustion from turning their college into a refugee camp and protecting more than l0,000 women and children, both women kept diaries during this time. Shui-fang's diary is the only know daily account by a Chinese national during this terrible time.

Co-editor Zhang Lian-hong is professor of history and chairman of the Center for Studies on the Nanjing Massacre of Nanjng Normal University as well as associate chairman of the Modern Chinese Historical Society of Kiangsu Province and Nanjing Historical Society. He has co-authored or co-edited seven books published in Chinese.

Books abound at Woodsong, and I am always behind in reading all I want to read. But I am especially eager to read the stories of these two women written under great pressure as they faced evil and saved so many lives.

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