A Village with My Name: A Family History of China's Opening to the World

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Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.8 X 8.9 inches | 0.95 pounds
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About the Author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for the American Public Media program "Marketplace," with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain, and the global economy. He is former China bureau chief. Tong has reported from more than a dozen countries.


"He uses a radio journalist's sense for sound and place to create a vivid and readable account. . . . The book's focus on ordinary people makes it refreshingly accessible."
--Financial Times
"This personal narrative could easily become one of bitterness; instead, Tong tells his story with humor, a little snark, lots of love, and a determination to show the dignity of his people and others he meets along the way. A charming book about a second-generation American's search for his family (past and present) and for himself in contemporary China. Highly recommended, especially for those interested in Chinese history and family journeys.:
--Library Journal, starred review
"A solid exploration of China past and present in which the author climbs 'a punishing mountain of history with [his] intergenerational team."--Kirkus Reviews
"This ambitious work, part social and political history and part personal story, doesn't attempt to cover all the members of Tong's family. Tong instead concentrates on a few representative relatives who reveal particular facets of the vast changes in China. . . . Tong clearly communicates the complexity of Chinese life and effectively integrates his own story into a much larger one."
"In this, his first book, Scott Tong does much to revive the stocks of two genres that have been looking a bit tired lately: China reportage and China memoir. A former correspondent for the US public radio series Marketplace, he argues that the official narrative of Chinese history is frustratingly incomplete, and his gentle and original fusing of the two genres backs up his claims."
--Inside Story
"In this combination of memoir, genealogy, history, and current affairs reporting, Tong uses his discovery of his family's past in mainland China to put many of China's most monumental historical events into a human scale. His attempts to clarify or uncover his family history, and the disputes, controversies, and missteps he encounters along the way will be familiar to anyone who has spent time trying to understand how a family became the way it is. Here the story is even more interesting because the story of the Tongs is complicated by the political history of China, which remains very present in their lives."--James Carter, coauthor of Forging the Modern World: A History
"Tong uses a reporter's skills and dedication to track down his family's own story, traveling to such unfamiliar places as a desolate prison camp in remote northeastern China and a child trafficker's front room. The result is a vivid illustration of the high price paid by his relatives for their links with the West. Compulsively readable, this book traces China's long and difficult relationship with the outside world through the extraordinary journey of a single family."
--Louisa Lim, author of The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited
"One of the best books on China in a decade. Tong displays the creative zeal of a world-class investigative reporter, but also the huge heart and family ties of a great-grandson of old China. Tong's family stories are the lived history of China--where exile, starvation and shame alternated with escape, riches, and promise. This is a spellbinding and personal portrait by a remarkably gifted storyteller."--Pietra Rivoli, author of Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy
"A Village with My Name is a wonderful unearthing of long-forgotten but ever-important ties between America and China. It is a great reminder that our relations with China are about more than politics and have stretched farther back than many of us would realize. Besides, it's a great read!"
--John Pomfret, author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, from 1776 to the Present
"A Village With My Name is a rich, subtle, closely observed study of the power of memory (and forgetting) to shape both a family and a nation. Tong's multigenerational tale of his remarkable clan captures all the contradictions of a China in world-changing metamorphosis."--Eric Liu, author of A Chinaman's Chance: One Family's Journey and the Chinese American Dream
"Immensely readable. . . . Readers of this book will find their views of China deepened and expanded, and will discover that they can never look on the China in the Western news headlines the same way again."
--Christian Science Monitor
"An account of China's treasured historical biography [that] helps answer the question, 'Where did today's China really come from?' . . . Tong succeeds in sharing the raw spirit of China's people through a period of history that is in many ways better left alone. He captures the hopes, joys, sufferings, losses, fears, present realities, hardships, and dreams of the Chinese people. . . .Like a warm blanket reminding me of good times gone by . . . . Tong gracefully shares the pain of China's history through his family's ancestral past. . . . He takes the secretly packaged and hidden histories of his family and reworks them into this beautiful story filled with both good and bad endings in order to leave a legacy; a legacy for all Chinese families who understand the disconnect between China's past and its current modern age."--China Source
"A remarkable achievement: the writer has overcome his own family's reluctance to speak about a past punctuated by heart-rending episodes to tell the story of China's re-emergence through their lives. . . . [A] gem . . . more than just a trip through the ancestral archives."--Post Magazine