Cover image for Ancestors, 900 years in the life of a Chinese family = [Ch0in shih ch0ien tsai shih]
Ancestors, 900 years in the life of a Chinese family = [Ch0in shih ch0ien tsai shih]
Ching, Frank.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [1988]

Physical Description:
528 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
General Note:
Parallel title in Chinese characters.

Map on lining papers.

Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CT1827.5.C47 C47 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
CT1827.5.C47 C47 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Francis D.K. Ching graduated cum laude with a five-year professional degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1966. His accomplishments included instructing at Ohio University and Cornish College of the Arts, teaching as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lecturing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was a visiting scholar at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He has been a professor of architecture at the University of Washington since 1992.

Ching's published works including Architecture: Form, Space, & Order, A Visual Dictionary of Architecture, and Interior Design Illustrated, focus on clarifying and communicating architectural element, principles, and relationships. Ching earned a Citation for Excellence in International Book Publishing in 1992, and two years later he was honored with the Graham Foundation Grant to develop a two-volume reader for Design Drawing.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

After Henry Kissinger helped thaw U.S.-Chinese relations in the early 1970s, Frank Ching, a New York Times reporter, found himself drawn back to his homeland. Born in mainland China in 1941, the author never felt comfortable either in Hong Kong, where his immediate family was exiled after the war, or in New York City, where he chose to live at age 19. Ching thus began his search for his origins in 1973 by returning to China and at long last meeting relatives he had never known. Eventually he relocated to Hong Kong as Peking correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, which enabled him to research his heritage thoroughly. The result is a fascinating, well-detailed family history that goes back 900 years to the eleventh century. In all, Ching traces 33 generations descended from a prominent romantic poet, Qin Guan, of the Song dynasty, whose greatness has been reacknowledged by today's Communist Chinese government. More importantly, in tracing his family's life story, the author also reveals the significant historical events that transformed China from an isolated empire into a Communist power. Notes; to be indexed. MB. 951.009 (B) Ching family / Ching, Frank-Family / China-Biography / Chinese Americans-Biography / China-Genealogy [OCLC] 87-28289

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Chinese tradition, to forget one's ancestors is contemptibleyet to trace them back to the 11th century, as the author has done, is quite a feat. Ching, who grew up in Hong Kong and is now an American citizen, began his quest in 1979, when he was the Wall Street Journal's Peking correspondent. Focusing on some 20 members of his family, prominent figures all, and with the aid of a 17-volume family record that survived the Cultural Revolution, Ching has produced what virtually amounts to a social and political history of China. Among the family members are a romantic poet, a military hero, an imperial ghost-writer, a minister of punishments and a woman noted for her skills in both poetry and the martial arts. And there's scarcely an aspect of Chinese life, from shamanism to bloody rebellion, that Ching doesn't touch upon in this engrossing narrative. Photos. (March) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ching is a Chinese-American journalist who is descended from an influential and wealthy lineage that can trace its ancestry back 900-odd years. When Ching was assigned to the reopened China beat in 1978, he started on a personal quest for his roots. The result has some similarity to Alex Haley's Roots , but rests on a much stronger documentary basis, for his clan left behind extensive genealogies and is mentioned in local histories, etc. Ching has modified a traditional Chinese literary formof retelling and preserving a lineage's historyfor a Western audience. While his careful attention to the documentary evidence makes his book somewhat dry, it will be appreciated by more serious readers.David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

These historical profiles of Ching's forebears, going back 34 generations, are a remarkable testament to the continuity of the Chinese elite and of their sense of family tradition. Ching brought to this project not only a passionate search for his roots but also the investigative and literary talents of a successful journalist. His account is solidly researched. If if does not tell all one wishes to know, it does reveal the kind of information traditionally considered significant. The book concludes with the life of the author's father, once a leading Shanghai lawyer but finally a sick and disoriented exile in Hong Kong. Whatever else the Chinese Revolution may have wrought, it marked the end of the old elite. Ancestors does not alter the basic understanding of Chinese history, but it does add depth to one's sense of the Chinese past. Written for a general audience, it is suitable for lower-division undergraduates and above. -C. Schirokauer, City College, CUNY