Fortunate Sons

Fortunate Sons

The 120 Chinese Boys Who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized An Ancient Civilization

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Describes the experiences of a group of boys from China who were sent to New England’s finest schools to learn the ways of the West and return home to help modernize the Empire at the end of the 19th century.

Norton Pub
At the twilight of the nineteenth century, China sent a detachment of boys to America in order to learn the ways of the West, modernize the antiquated empire, and defend it from foreigners invading its shores. After spending a decade in New England’s finest schools, the boys re-turned home, driven by a pioneering spirit of progress and reform. Their lives in America influenced not only their thinking but also their nation’s endeavor to become a contemporary world power, an endeavor that resonates powerfully today.Drawing on diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts, Fortunate Sons tells a remarkable tale, weaving together the dramas of personal lives with the momentous thrust of a nation reborn. Shedding light on a crucial yet largely unknown period in China’s history, Fortunate Sons provides insight into the issues concerning that nation today, from its struggle toward economic supremacy to its fraught relationship with the United States.
The epic story of the American-educated boys who changed China forever.

Book News
This interesting history tells the story of 120 Chinese boys sent to the United States in 1872 to learn the secrets of US innovation, economic success and political stability. The work follows the young men as they traveled and studied with the country's elites, eventually returning to China amidst growing American xenophobia, and facing challenges relating the very information they were tasked with acquiring to a calcified and suspicious government at home. The work examines how the experiences of these leaders shaped the course of Chinese modernization at the turn of the twentieth century and the echoes of their experiences through the history of US-China relations to the present. Liebovitz is visiting professor at New York University and Miller is a writer living in New York. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell Publishing
"What happened when the Qing dynasty sent a bunch of boys off to school in Connecticut at the end of the nineteenth century? Well, they became good at baseball, and they picked up some great nicknames - Fighting Chinee, By-Jinks Johnnie-but they also came home and did their part to try to change China, fortunate Sons is a fascinating and well-told history of this early educational exchange between China and the United States."-PETER HESSLER, author of Country Driving

"A captivating, enlightening, and timely read. The struggle that the boys faced between traditionalism and modernity, exacerbated by an intriguing and sometimes turbulent clash of cultures, is something that resonates clearly to this day."-GAVIN MENZIES, author of 1421: The Year China Discovered America

"I read this book in one sitting, utterly engrossed in the rugged journeys undertaken by the first generation of West-going Chinese scholars. To read this book is to understand the fundamental obstacles and frustrations all Chinese intellectuals faced then and now!"-DA CHEN, author of Colors of the Mountain and Brothers

"The story of the West's engagement with China is often told through the voices of colonists, correspondents, and fortune-seekers who sailed East a century ago. Fortunate Sons is a captivating look at the reverse journey: a page-turning narrative about Chinese patriots schooled in the United States who returned home to modernize a moribund, imperial society. This book is a reminder that historically, U.S.-China relations are more than political; Leibovitz and Miller have unearthed an important, and all but forgotten, story that resonates today."-MICHAEL MEYER, author of The Lost Days of Old Bering

In 1872, The Qing Empire Sent 120 HOYS TO America in the hope that they would unlock the mysteries of Western innovation. They studied at New England's finest schools, befriended luminaries such as Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant, and exchanged ideas with their American peers that would change the course of both nations. But when anti-Chinese fervor forced them back home, the young men faced a new set of obstacles, having to overcome a suspicious imperial court and a culture deeply resistant to change.

Filled with colorful characters and vivid historical detail, Fortunate Sons unearths the dramatic stories of these young men who led China at the pivotal moment when it teetered between modernity and tradition. Faced with Japanese aggression and Western colonialism on the one hand and domestic unrest and rebellion on the other, these American-educated men helped to shape China's economy, diplomacy, and government, relying on one another as they struggled to bring peace and progress to a crumbling empire.

Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller draw on diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts to tell this remarkable tale, weaving together the dramas of personal lives with the fascinating story of a nation's endeavor to become a world power. Shedding light on a crucial period in Chinese and American history, Fortunate Sons provides insight into the issues concerning both nations today, from China's struggle toward economic supremacy to its fraught relationship with the United States.

Baker
& Taylor

In 1872, the Qing Empire sent 120 boys to America in the hope that they would unlock the mysteries of Western innovation. They studied at New England's finest schools, befriended luminaries such as Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant, and exchanged ideas with their American peers that would change the course of both nations. But when anti-Chinese fervor forced them back home, the young men faced a new set of obstacles, having to overcome a suspicious imperial court and a culture deeply resistant to change. Filled with colorful characters and vivid historical detail, this book unearths the dramatic stories of these young men who led China at the pivotal moment when it teetered between modernity and tradition.--From publisher description.
Describes the experiences of a group of boys from China who were sent to New England's finest schools to learn the ways of the West and return home to help modernize the Empire at the end of the nineteenth century.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, [2011]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780393070040
0393070042
Branch Call Number: 951 Leibovitz 2011
Characteristics: 319 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Miller, Matthew I. 1979-

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vv9
Jul 21, 2015

Interesting account of Chinese history in the late 1800's, as they fell behind the industrialized nations. There was an organized attempt to send the best and brightest (boys, of course) to America for an education that they could bring back to China. The deep religious and political strongholds of the Orient proved to be the critical obstacle in industrial advancement.

I am not a history buff, but you can teach me something if you tell it right. This book reads pretty easily, and personalizes the stories of the young boys who land in New England.
I admit, I found it difficult to keep all of the similar Chinese names straight.

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