One of the Chinese American Librarians Association’s Ten Best Books of 2010
During the infamous “Rape of Nanking,” a brutal military occupation of Nanking, China, that began on December 13, 1937, it is estimated that Japanese soldiers killed between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese and raped between 20,000 and 80,000 women. To shelter civilian refugees, a group of Westerners established a Nanking Safety Zone. Among these humanitarians was Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and acting president of Ginling College. She and Tsen Shui-fang, her Chinese assistant and a trained nurse, turned the college into a refugee camp, which protected more than 10,000 women and children during the height of the ordeal. The Undaunted Women of Nanking juxtaposes day-by-day the exhausted and terrified women’s wartime diaries, providing vital eyewitness accounts of the Rape of Nanking and a unique focus on the Ginling refugee camp and the sufferings of women and children. Vautrin's diary reveals the humanity and courage of a female missionary in a time of terror. Tsen Shui-fang’s diary, never before published in English and translated here for the first time, is the only known daily account by a Chinese national written during the crisis and not retrospectively. As such, it records a unique perspective: that of a woman grappling with feelings of anger, sorrow, and compassion as she witnesses the atrocities being committed in her war-torn country.
Editors Hua-ling Hu and Zhang Lian-hong have added many informative annotations to the diary entries from sources including the proceedings of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial of 1946, Vautrin’s correspondence, John Rabe’s diary, and other historical documents. Also included are biographical sketches of the two women, a note on the diaries, and information about the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as maps and photos—some of which appear in print in this book for the first time.