The events of Chinese history between 1938 and 1948 are vividly reconstructed in this third volume of Han Suyin's autobiography. The story of her unhappy marriage to a fanatical army officer is told against the background of the appalling confusion and corruption of China at that time: the Japanese invasion, the misery and squalor of the retreating Chinese, the activities of Chiang Kaishek and his 'Blueshirts', the violent prelude to revolution. Ill-treated and misunderstood, Han Suyin goes to work as a midwife in Chengtu, and it is there her career as a writer begins. Later, unable to have a child herself, she adopts a daughter. When her husband becomes military attache in London, Han Suyin follows him there and she describes in fascinating detail her life as a diplomat's wife in wartime. In 1944, she enrolls as a medical student and, after qualifying, she spends a year as house surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital. As the Chinese civil war turns into revolution, Han Suyin, now a widow, returns to Hong-Kong. Han Suyin's narrative is not merely the affecting and extraordinary life story of a woman of immense courage. In the way that if brings to life more powerfully than ever before the spirit and politics of China, it is a significant contribution to the history of our time.
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