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Iris Chang


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I just read that Iris Chang, the ABC author of "The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II," (1997) passed away last week, aged 36. She also wrote "Thread of the Silkworm," and, published last year, "The Chinese in America" (neither of which I have had a chance to read yet).

I thought this was very sad news. Few historians have done so much in recent times to raise awareness in the West of the massacre in Nanjing in 1937, and anyone looking for a vivid depiction of these events should pick up a copy of Ms. Chang's book from the library. This is no dry history. As historian Stephen Ambrose (before the accusations of plagiarism dented his own standing) wrote of Chang: "She may be the best young historian we've got, because she understands that to communicate history you've got to tell it in an interesting way."

As I also understand it, Chang was also something of a role model for many ABC's, so no doubt her death will sadden both historians and many in the American Chinese community.

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