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Cover: Our Ordered Lives Confess: Three Nineteenth-Century American Missionaries in East Shantung, from Harvard University PressCover: Our Ordered Lives Confess in E-DITION

Harvard Studies in American-East Asian Relations 8

Our Ordered Lives Confess

Three Nineteenth-Century American Missionaries in East Shantung

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This spirited book is a study of the adjustments of three nineteenth-century missionaries to life in northeast China. Its subject is international relations of the person-to-person kind, based on the daily experiences of living in a foreign land.

The missionaries all worked in the same place in China, but had remarkably different personalities and careers. Tarleton Perry Crawford of the Southern Baptist Convention was an unfeeling, not always trustworthy missionary, whose depressing story contrasts sharply with those of the other two subjects. The famous Lottie Moon, also of the Southern Baptist Convention, has become a culture heroine as the founder of women’s work in China (in her name the SBC has collected 250 million dollars). Calvin Wilson Mateer, a Presbyterian, is well known to students of modern Chinese history as a great educator.

In this account of how three individuals responded to the same problems and opportunities, Irwin Hyatt seeks to discover why only some Americans placed among Chinese will find friends and a new appreciation of life. It is a fascinating investigation into the crucial cultural problem of understanding other people. As Andre Malraux has written, “Europeans never understand anything of China that does not resemble themselves.”

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, from Harvard University Press

Book Club Spotlight: The Privileged Poor

As students around the world deliberate their options for further education, only made more challenging in a pandemic, we’re reminded that getting in is only half the battle. In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack asks how—and why—do disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges? What can schools can do differently if these students are to thrive? As back to school season begins, we spoke to two university book clubs that read and discussed The Privileged Poor this summer.