Meanwhile, in the background we are still studying our sources. Currently I am reading no than less three books at the same time, changing my choice depending on inspiration and prevailing mood. It is the worst summer in Holland’s recent memory so no Sunshine is lost. First and mainly on the menu: From the new PFS series "Light on China (Eyewitness of the Revolution)" (also available from our online store), Robert M. Farnsworth’s lenghty biography of American writer & journalist Edgar Snow. This 540 page book encompassing Snow’s entire career, traveling mainly in China, India, and later getting stuck in the McCarthy Era for "communist sympathies", will take me a while to read through. So far it seems a tedious book, reveiling mainly Egar Snow’s early personal adventures in China, his tendency to invent things and glorify his writing or attendance of some fact (*), and other unglorious personal traits. After some 135 pages, so far not much useful information about China’s history, pre-revolution, Ching Dynasty, Beijing Scenery or other interesting small snippets that migh benifit the development of our website. A bit of a Miss ! Other books from the PFS series, even the other biography "Ma Haide – The Sage of American Doctor George Hatem in China", are much more pleasant reading. By Far ! Where the books by James Bertram paint a mental landscape of Chinese Bliss, romance and misery intertwined with sharp politcally and historically superb on-hand analysis, the Farnsworth Biography of Edgar Snow so far runs utterly dry. Perhaps Farnsworth, as a Professor, recognizes Snow as one of the great Journalists in american history, he himself however comes up much wanting.
Ofcourse, Snow was one of, if not THE most renowned and well-known writer of all in the PFS series, even to this day. Befriending many other historic Foreigners during his 17 year China career, Snow is mentioned in (PFS) books by spirited american woman Agnes Smedley, Brit James Bertram, Sidney Shapiro, Major Evans F. Carlson (Later Brigadier-General, commander of the WWII pacific Marine Raiders) and other lesser writers. Already somewhat established, Snow became a splash-hit journalist for his 1936 first interview with Mao Tse Tung (Zedong) and other Chinese Communist Leaders, then cut-off from the world in China’s North-Western Yenan. A truely historic event for the world and a mile-stone in China’s Revolution (Liberation), Snow was Mao’s chance to circumvent KuoMinTang quarantaine, and break his message to all of China, finally bringing the truth out about the communist opions, policies and ambitions. The resulting book(-report) "Red Star over China" (1937) was an instant world succes, and a major factor in conveying the communist message to the chinese people (through pirated copies in chinese translation), establishing solidly both the Communists and Snow’s reputations Internationally. Therefor, Snow is a writer one must want to read and know more about, and we are studying.
Other books we are studying as background sources are "Behind the Veil of The Forbidden City", an interesting and lenghty collection of stories and fact relating to the chinese dynasties and their Forbidden City Palace – this may prove very useful as China Report source material-, and "Tutor to The Dragon Emperor" – a book about the interesting career of Last Emperor Pu Yi’s british Tutor, sir Reginal Fleming Johnston. Both of these last books are directly related to our current update of the Ching Dynasty History resource page, with the latter giving an unusual level of detail about past Beijing Court events. The result of our studies will undoubtedly soon be reflected in our Grand and unique photo-tour of the entire Imperial Palace Complex. This will be a huge writing + internet-publishing job but we are looking forward to it nevertheless! We hope the bring "Tutor to The Dragon Emperor" to our Online Store soon. The book is for now unavailable to us.
*= all these Edgar Snow traits are Totally contrary to China Report/DrBen policies of witnessing and reporting the facts from the spot for ourselves, then recording both digitally and mentally, then thoroughly analyzing them for long after.