Yang Dapeng: Remembrance of a Martyr in Nanjing 1937
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 9 Feb 2018
Yang Dapeng was a young, idealistic, and patriotic young man who answered the call of his country to fight the Japanese. He was among those killed at the Zhongshan Gate of the Chinese capital of Nanjing in Dec 1937. His younger brother Shu-Chin Yang knew that his brother had likely been killed in action during the war, but did not have the courage to find out the facts until many decades later. When he was finally ready, he was lucky enough to have located people who had been in touch with Yang Dapeng in his final days. To honor his brother, Shu-Chin Yang published a short memoir in Chinese. In 2017, Shu-Chin Yang's daughter Catherine Yang translated the memoir into English, thus bringing a harrowing tale to demonstrate the true face of war that few enjoyed discussing. It also brought another treasured account to the western world, where the knowldge of the Second Sino-Japanese War had always been scant. The book was heavily biased, for that the author had obviously adored his older brother, but the deeply personal narratives that illustrated the author's sense of loss only further reminded the readers that wars were terrible and could never be glorified, not even by the victors.
I would certainly recommend this memior, Yang Dapeng: Remembrance of a Martyr in Nanjing 1937, as companion to the study of the history of the Battle of Nanjing.
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945