Thursday, October 01, 2009



This book recorded many personal histories of the generation of people who went through 1949. The author’s mother, the wife of a military police, drifted through the war and ended up in Taiwan, leaving her brother behind in China. 8,000 secondary school students tried to continue to study while drifting through China through the war. 5,000 secondary school students from Hunan drifted through China, with 200 ending in Taiwan. One of whom was 王尚義, who wrote 野鴿子的黃昏.

There were Chinese soldiers, Japanese soldiers, Communist soldiers, and Nationalist soldiers. Taiwanese youths forced to fight the war on the Japanese side. Chinese youths forced to fight on the Communist side. Chinese youths forced to fight on the Nationalist side. Nationalist soldiers captured by the Communists and then forced to fight on the Communist side. A Chinese diplomat murdered in a Japanese prison camp in New Guinea. An Australian prisoner of war who survived a Japanese prison camp.

This is a book about people, not ideologies. It helps me to understand the generation, including my own parents, who went through that era. There were glimmers of hope and dignity. Mostly it was the vastness, and the depth of the suffering, and cruelty in the name of victory, survival, or vengeance - that struck me. There is also a wealth of the indomitable human spirit in the midst of all the suffering.

Read it for yourself. It is not an easy read, for people who suffers with those who suffer. But you will not be disappointed.

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