Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dragon Seed

This book by Pearl Buck follows one man's family through war. Ling Tan and his family have a peaceful existence in their village outside the city of Nanjing when the Japanese invade in 1937 (otherwise known as the Rape of Nanking). The atrocities are mentioned, but not in great detail. Rather, the thoughts of the fabulously drawn characters are the main emphasis of the book.The war is ongoing at the end of the book, yet we are left with hope.

It was a bit difficult for me to place this historical novel into history. There are no clues in the beginning of the story as to which invasion we might be speaking of. The nearby city is not named. My library copy did not have the publication data. Dragon Seed was published in 1942, with World War II still raging. Perhaps there were worries of ramifications for those left in Nanjing if identifying characteristics were published?

Another informative book about this time is American Goddess at the Rape of Nanking by Hua-ling Hu. This is the well researched biography of Minnie Button, an American missionary, teacher, and the administrator of Ginling College who took in thousands of women and children to save their lives. She eventually had to leave China when her health failed and considered herself a failure. Yet if she had not been in so brave and in such a position many more women and children would have been violated and murdered.

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