historian Tag

Kindred Journey 2- Iris Chang

Iris was an award-winning journalist and writer whose parents are both professors from Taiwan. She was born in the states and raised in Illinois. She worked for several newspapers as a journalist before becoming a writer. I believe researching articles, facts, and historical accuracy led to her wanting to write the immense books she wrote about Asians and Chinese Americans throughout history. Her first book, “Thread of the Silkworm” was about a Chinese professor named Tsien Hsue-shen who although brought incredible research and work to the United States, was unfairly targeted as a spy during the great “Red Scare” of the 1950s in the U.S.

“The Rape of Nanking”, her second book, talked in depth about what Chinese women and men faced during World War 2 when the Japanese invaded the town of Nanjing. Her third book titled “The Chinese in America” highlighted the struggles of Chinese Americans and many Asian Americans in the US being made to feel like the “other” or not truly American simply because they are Asian. While doing research last month I came across Iris and remembered seeing her books. Sadly, Iris took her own life after a serious bout with depression and overuse — maybe even misdiagnosis of –prescription medication. I love the fact that she unapologetically wrote about stories that are not talked about enough in history. Even older Asian Americans sometimes have an attitude of being tough despite the struggles they faced, and she is one of many scholars highlighting the stories and injustices of her people and those of others. RIP Iris Chang.