Saint Louis College, Tientsin (Tianjin) is a lens through which to view the complex tapestry of influences bearing down on North China, from every direction, in the first half of the 20th century. Its pupils were the children of Russian refugees, Chinese compradors, Japanese industrialists, British bankers and others thrown together to make the best of things in demanding and exciting times. These are tales of a world obliterated by revolution; the foreign concessions of Tianjin (Tientsin), North China, through the eyes of pupils at Saint Louis College. These were children destined to grow up knowing that history has no bystanders. Their Marist Brothers school welcomed all nationalities and all creeds. It was a lens through which the reader can view the complex tapestry of influences bearing down on North China in the first half of the 20th century. Its pupils were the children of Russian refugees, Chinese compradors, Japanese industrialists, British bankers, Italian soldiers, German restaurateurs and Parsee wool traders, thrown together to make the best of things in demanding and exciting times.
Their lives were affected on a daily basis by such cataclysmic events as China's epochal collision with the western powers, the rise of Stalinism, machinations of warlords, the emergence of Chinese nationalism, Japan's disastrous attempt at colonialism and finally the triumph of Maoism. These children, their teachers and their families witnessed and experienced, in deeply personal ways, events and trends that post-revolutionary China deliberately forgot or revised. Drama abounds as fortunes are made and lost, empires rise and fall, dreams are fulfilled and lives are smashed. There is the saga of two doctors, both 1917 graduates, one conscripted by the Red Army, the other by the Whites, destined to separately battle for years across Siberia, to Manchuria and eventually to practise in Tientsin, where their children attend the same school. There is also rich characterisation in ebullient, individualistic Brother Konrad Bauer; sensitive, sharply observant Monica Wolf; and ambitious, determined Atsuo Tsukada and many others.
Brother Konrad calls himself "Der Fuhrer of La Cuvette" as he rescues novitiates from the Marist Brothers retreat near Beijing, but other Brothers endure weeks as hostages of Chinese communist guerrillas. Little Monica Wolf is dismissed as a dreamer by adults who fear her account of tortures taking place at a nearby Japanese compound. Atsuo Tsukada must evade the fists and rocks hurled by Chinese ruffians in order to reach Saint Louis College, where many classmates have recently returned from a Japanese prison camp. A unique work, thoroughly researched and sensitively presented.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; About the Author; Foreword; Part I; That Jap Kid; The New Czar's Revenge; The Emperor Speaks; Tientsin Goes Yankee; Make 'Em Pay; The Defenders of Fuchen-li; No Whisky Soda; Camp Kindergarten; Rising Sun; For Your Safety And Comfort; Weihsien Winter; Guardian Angel; Diplomat In Black; Radio Drama; Stalingrad; Monica's Little Secret; Holy Days; The Flood of 1939; Japan Makes War; Der Fuhrer of La Cuvette; Hostage; Murder In Manchuria; The Collector; Happy Hour; The White House; Tennis At The Arsenal; The Opium Wars; Part II; No Culture - No Manners; Entnazifizierung; Civil War; Edge Of The Dream; Emperor Chin's Magic Horse; Sticks And Stones; Keys Of The Kingdom; Napoleon's Trousers; The Greatest Event Of The Year; Repatriation; Evacuation; The Siege Of Tientsin; Meet The People's Liberation Army; Of Warlords And Landlords; China For The Chinese; The Purser
Born in Melbourne in 1948, David Charles Hulme learned at an early age to revere giants of Australian literature such as "Banjo" Patterson and Henry Lawson, and to revel in their brilliant treatment of simple reality. He became an insatiable explorer of places and people. After trying and abandoning promising careers in several fields, his abiding love of writing led to a career in journalism. He roamed and worked across Europe, North America and Asia; and reported extensively on China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea and Japan. Settling in Tokyo in the early 1980s, he became one of the very few successful independent freelance journalists in Japan. His reports and analyses were seen regularly in publications as diverse as the Dublin-based Lafferty financial services newsletters, the U.S. specialist magazine Machine Design, Hong Kong-based Asian Business magazine, Australian newspapers, and various airline magazines. In recent years, he served as editor-in-chief of the monthly Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Hulme now resides in Caboolture, Queensland, where he is developing a new career in radio and working on a novel. He still gets his kicks from simple reality.