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Frank Ching brings to life 900 years of Chinese history through his own fascinating family tree. Beginning with his search for the grave of his first recorded ancestor, the 11th century poet Qin Guan, and ending with a moving account of his relationship with his father, a victim of China's historic upheaval, Frank Ching introduces a colourful cast of characters. His unbroken family line includes - among many others - a lovelorn concubine, a traitor, a military hero, an imperial ghost-writer, a minister of punishments and a woman noted for her skills in both verse and martial arts. There is scarcely an aspect of Chinese life, from shamanism to violent rebellion, that Ching doesn't touch upon in this fascinating work. Through his vivid and personal portraits of his ancestors the history of China itself unfolds: from the days of the ancient empire to its radical transformation today.

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