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Shadows in the Lotus Pool by Gwen Chen and Rudi Carboni

Shadows in the Lotus Pool

by Gwen Chen and Rudi Carboni

338 pages
A father and daughter's adventures and misadventures in the revolutionary China.

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Category: Biography
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About the Book
Shadows in the Lotus Pool is a story of my father Deng Wen-yi’s close and sometimes tempestuous relationship with China’s autocratic ruler Chiang Kai-shek during the turbulent events of 20th century China. As the first class cadet in Whampoa Military Academy and platoon leader in the succeeding Eastern Expedition, Wen-yi develops a lifelong unwavering loyalty to his Commandant and Generalissimo Chiang.

Early as a young officer, Wen-yi uncovers a Communist plot to incite uprisings against Chiang in several major cities. His participation in planning and carrying out a successful preemptive strike to abort the riot in Guangzhou catapults him to the rank of Major General at age twenty two. Wen-yi emerges from the trials to hold important posts as the Generalissimo’s personal secretary and Executive Aide, head of an intelligence and anti-corruption strike force, Chinese Military Attaché in Moscow, and Secretary-General of the powerful Lixingshe (Blue Shirt Society). He is swept into a series of adventures that brings praise, demotion, disgrace, and exoneration. Through it all, Wen-yi discovers a surprising gentler side to the feared Nationalist leader.

Wen-yi’s frequent unauthorized actions, including deployment of troops to protect the kidnapped Generalissimo while the government emergency council continues to debate options for a response during the Xian Incident, bring only censure. Heartbroken Wen-yi must deal with disgrace, the slaughter of his father by bandits, and the loss of his young wife. At the end of the Chinese civil war, Wen-yi is reviled by Mao Ze-dong for publicly opposing Mao’s terms of surrender. The story chronicles the painful decline in the fortunes of Chiang and his flight with members of his inner circle, including my father, to the island of Taiwan, where, from tragic beginnings the island is transformed into a democratic republic with a spectacular growth in economic power. Following the Nationalist retreat to Taiwan my father coaches Chiang’s son, Ching-kuo, to succeed him as Head of the Political Bureau within the National Defense Ministry. Wen-yi is appointed Head of the Taiwan Provincial Nationalist Party and later vice-Minister of Interior. In 1991 China’s paramount leader Deng Xiao-ping invites Wen-yi to Beijing for personal discussions on the future relationship of China and Taiwan.

This is also the heart-rending story of Wen-yi’s daughter, Deng Yuan-yu. At age two she loses her mother Bai-jian, who refuses to take medications for her tuberculosis because of their potential harm to the fetus she is carrying. Yuan-yu now becomes a weed, unwanted by Wen-yi’s new wife and shunted from one family to another as she struggles to find acceptance and love amidst the indifference and selfishness of her wards. She is finally adopted by her aunt and an uncle who molests her repeatedly. After escaping to Taiwan at the end of China civil war, Yuan-yu finds joy in becoming a good student and undergoes a gradual transformation. She excels in school and graduates from the prestigious Taiwan University. In the U.S. she receives a Ph.D. in Chemistry and enjoys a successful career as a research scientist.



About the Author
Gwen Chen, born in 1937 in China, was motherless at two, unwanted by her stepmother and ignored by her busy father. Her uncle adopted and molested her. Later Gwen became a top student and graduated from the prestigious Taiwan University. In U.S. she earned a Ph.D. and a happy life.



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