The enigmatic personal qualities that marked Sun Yat-sen during his lifetime have encouraged controversy concerning him ever since his death more than a generation ago. Mr. Schiffrin's book deals with the first forty years of Sun's life, and attempts to find the key to this controversial personality. His study is at once biography and history, for it goes beyond Sun to the whole texture of Chinese history of Sun's time. Drawing on diplomatic archives, police reports, personal interviews, contemporary newspapers, and other hitherto unused sources in Chinese, Japanese, and Western languages, the author reveals unsuspected facets of Sun's versatile plotting on three continents, and traces the convolutions of his pragmatic style in unprecedented detail.
Harold Zvi Schiffrin is Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies and Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the founder of East Asian studies in Israel.
"Sun Yat·sen's early life is, of course, a thriller. Few fathers of countries have had so many dangerous adventures, or embellished them so artfully afterward. Of the various books that have existed in English for many years, none has used the wealth of Chinese material recently made available to scholars. In seizing this golden opportunity, Harold Schiffrin makes the invaluable contribution of a sociological analysis of the various groups in the revolutionary movement-secret societies, overseas Chinese, students abroad, new army officers, and all the rest-as well as of the ideas and values by which they acted. This book is thus by far the most exhaustive and authentic account of an important man during a crucial period, and it is at the same time interestingly analytical."--John K. Fairbank, Harvard University "Schriffrin's volume, covering Sun's first forty years, is a milestone in Western scholarship. . . Should remain the standard account of Sun Yat·sen's young manhood."--Book World "The first major scholarly work in English to appear on Sun. An indispensable major work of scholarship which is un likely to be superseded in this century."--Pacific Affairs