Select one of the keywords
Nanjing Requiem: A Novel    by Ha Jin order for
Nanjing Requiem
by Ha Jin
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

The fall of Nanjing in 1937 is one of those awful times in history that cries out for a story about people being treated humanely. And in Nanjing Requiem we learn about a woman, American missionary Minnie Vautrin, who went beyond the humanly possible by harboring 10,000 Chinese women and children in a school designed for 200-300 students.

Ha Jin has taken her real-life story and fleshed it out to show us that even in the midst of the most God-awful scenes of violence, rape and pillage, we can find courageous and enterprising people. Minnie, John Rabe, a German businessman, and others worked to create the Nanjing Safety Zone, where Chinese refugees could find food and shelter. The Jinling Girls College, Minnie's place of employment, was supposed to accommodate 2000 women and children. Very quickly this number mounted, and it was solely due to Minnie's effort that most of them were kept safe. Unfortunately there were some losses, and Minnie never forgave herself for them.

This is a truly moving account, especially in view of the contrast in which we see Minnie's successes whereas she could never forget her losses. She stood against a mighty army, fighting for the refugees and against school administration policies, which could not be upheld under wartime conditions. Ha Jin has seen to it that her goodness will not be forgotten.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Historical books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews