A young man arrives in England in the 1930s, knowing few words of the English language. Yet, two years later he writes a successful English book on Chinese art, and within the following decade publishes more than a dozen others. This is the true story of Chiang Yee, a renowned writer, artist, and worldwide traveler, best known for the Silent Traveller
series--stories of England, the United States, Ireland, France, Japan, and Australia--all written in his humorous, delightfully refreshing, and enlightening literary style.
This biography is more than a recounting of extraordinary accomplishments. It also embraces the transatlantic life experience of Yee who traveled from China to England and then on to the United States, where he taught at Columbia University, to his return to China in 1975, after a forty-two year absence. Interwoven is the history of the communist revolution in China; the battle to save England during World War II; the United States during the McCarthy red scare era; and, eventually, thawing Sino-American relations in the 1970s. Da Zheng uncovers Yee's encounters with racial exclusion and immigration laws, displacement, exile, and the pain and losses he endured hidden behind a popular public image.