Beyond the Stone Arches: An American Missionary Doctor in China, 1892-1932

Edward Bliss, JR., Author John Wiley & Sons $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-471-39759-5
""When you were so sick in infancy, and there was little hope of your recovery, did I not earnestly pray that the Lord would spare your life that you might live for His glory,"" wrote the devout Emily Lydston Bliss in 1891 to her oldest son and the author's father, Edward, upon hearing that he had chosen to become a missionary doctor in China. Relying on letters from and conversations with his father and others, as well as his own recollections of living in China as the son of two missionaries, Bliss offers a lovely account of his father's lifelong devotion to China and its people. The author perfectly balances an objective description of his father's contributions as a physician and Christian missionary with a genuine warmth and respect for him. As a backdrop to the primary story of his father's work, Bliss describes the larger sociopolitical events taking place both in China and around the world--recalling that his father once described himself and his fellow American missionaries as ""the first anti-isolationists."" Bliss senior suffered bouts of malaria, plagues and floods, but it would only be in the wake of Mao's rise to power that Edward would leave China. Bliss succeeds beautifully in painting a private view of a transformative period in world history through the eyes of one man. Readers will recognize Bliss's name from his long and distinguished career in broadcast journalism, which will contribute to sales of this excellent book. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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