Cover image for From one root many flowers : a century of family life in China and America
From one root many flowers : a century of family life in China and America
Li, Virginia C.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
351 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:

Geographic Term:
Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
CS1169 .L44 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Author Notes

Virginia C. Li, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a professor of community health sciences at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles, and an honorary professor at the Nanjing College for Population Program Management and Kunming Medical College

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This plainspoken debut by a septuagenarian Chinese-American passes through roughly a century's worth of family and world history as it tells the story of a high-level official in pre-Communist China and his family losing a lifestyle of chauffeured cars and servants and beginning anew in the United States. Li's guileless account relies on interviews, diaries and memories to relate her father's transition from decorated general and governor to struggling owner of a Chinese eatery in the suburbs of New York City; her mother's shift from first lady of Guangdong Province to restaurant hostess; and Li's own conversion from obeisant stay-at-home wife to international consultant to the World Health Organization and the U.N. With too many decades and disasters in her lifetime to be covered in depth, Li ends up cantering briskly past some of the most significant and arresting parts of her history, giving them all equally insufficient attention. In just one example, her first husband is introduced without a word on how they met or why she fell for an unloving louse. Li would have had more room for backstory and reflection had she refrained from committing seemingly every recalled memory to the page, as in relating where she caught a connecting train or describing a teak cabinet she regrets not buying. This informality in the context of her and her family's agonizing displacement and loss makes Li seem like a dispassionate observer. It reads as though she was never there. B&w photos. Agent, Julie Popkin. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 9
Part I. China
Chapter 1. China 1989p. 17
Chapter 2. Chrysanthemum That Grew in Winterp. 35
Chapter 3. The Soldier-Poet's Pathp. 61
Chapter 4. On the Front Linep. 93
Chapter 5. Childhood in Wartimep. 115
Chapter 6. "All My Children, All My Sisters"p. 135
Chapter 7. Postvictoryp. 151
Part II. New World
Chapter 8. Beautiful Countryp. 167
Chapter 9. Return to China and Departurep. 181
Chapter 10. School Days in a Strange Landp. 197
Chapter 11. Cooking Up the Future with the Good Will Wokp. 213
Chapter 12. Finding My Pathp. 233
Part III. Two Worlds Entwine
Chapter 13. A Glimpse of the People's Republicp. 253
Chapter 14. Last Journey of the Confucian Generalp. 267
Chapter 15. Valleys and Countrysidep. 295
Chapter 16. Hong Kong's Returnp. 307
Chapter 17. Mamap. 317
Chapter 18. Going Forwardp. 327
Indexp. 343