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Book Club June

On Sunday 10 June, we shall be discussing The Death of Woman Wang by Jonathan D. Spence.

In this book, the award-winning historian Jonathan Spence paints a vivid picture of provincial China in the late 17th century. Drawing on a range of sources, including local Chinese histories, the memoirs of scholars and other contemporary writings, Spence reconstructs an extraordinary tale of rural tragedy in a remote corner of the northeastern Chinese province of Shantung. Life in the county of T’an-ch’eng emerges as an endless cycle of floods, plagues, crop failures, banditry and heavy taxation. Against this turbulent background a tenacious tax collector, an irascible farmer, and an unhappy wife act out a poignant drama at whose climax the wife, having run away from her husband, returns to him, only to die at his hands.

Jonathan D. Spence has written 11 books on Chinese history. The most well-known of these are:  The Gate of Heavenly Peace, Treason by the Book, and The Death of Woman Wang. He has been awarded Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships and is professor emeritus of history at Yale University.

Regulars and newcomers – all are welcome. Admission is free and refreshments are served.

When: Second Sunday of every month, 2 p.m.

Where: Library, 3rd floor

How much: FREE

Contact: Phyllis Rowlinson: prowlinson[at]whiterabbitcollection.org, tel. (02) 8399 2867


Book Club is planning ahead!


Sunday 8 July

Book: The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir

By Wenguang Huang

In 1966, the Chinese Communist Party declared  the ‘Four Olds’ –  Customs, Cultures, Habits and Ideas –to be ” anti–proletarian anathemas fostered over  thousands of years by the exploiting classes, to poison the minds of the people.” Among other things, burials were outlawed and cremation became compulsory. Having a traditional burial could mean danger and ruin for an entire family. In 1973, when Wenguang Huang was eight years old, his grandmother became obsessed with her own death. Fearing cremation, she appealed to her family to honour her wish to be buried…


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