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Pursuing China: Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer [Paperback]

Brian L. Evans

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Book Description

Feb. 29 2012
Brian Evans blends memoir and history to draw a vivid picture of China and its cultural outreach over the past three decades. His historical and sociological insights as student, scholar, and administrator form an authentic commentary as he discusses China and the Cold War; the Cultural Revolution; the post-Mao transformation of China; Canada’s relations with China; the cultural impact of the overseas Chinese community on the Canadian Prairies; development of China studies in Canada and elsewhere; the current impact of China on Canadian higher education; and recent Chinese history seen within a broader context. With this book, Evans seeks to make a contribution to the understanding of the nature and wide range of Canada–China relations, an area in which he himself has played a role.

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"General Odlum is among the great many diplomats, journalists, spies, scholars and Old China Hands who populate Pursuing China by Brian L. Evans, a pioneer in the growth of Chinese studies in Canadian universities and, later, a junior diplomat himself. His book makes compelling reading..." George Fetherling, Diplomat and International Canada, Summer 2012

Alison Redford quoted in the Globe today on what she is reading: "Pursuing China: Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer, by Brian Evans, because the author is a great Canadian from Alberta who tells his life story, which includes the early days of China and Alberta's relations in the 1970s, and because this relationship matters so much to us again more than 30 years later."

"Over the decades, Evans has witnessed China’s extraordinary evolution, from early years Chairman Mao to the terrors of the Cultural Revolution, to its tentative opening the West, to its metamorphosis as a global economic superpower. Through it all, he’s never lost his love for China, its history, its food, and its people, a romance that began back in Taber, when his best friend was Herbert How, whose parents ran the Chinese café. That love story is the backbone of Evans’s latest book, Pursuing China: Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer. It’s no dry academic tome. Instead, Evans mixes his analysis of China’s history and geopolitics with raucous yarns, recounting his personal adventures and misadventures, at home and abroad." Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal

As a memoirist, Evans has two great strengths. The first is his sense of humour, which brings us several wonderful anecdotes.... Evans’ second strength is his unflinching honesty.... The main title of this book is Pursuing China. It is a fitting title. It sums up for so many of us who have had the good fortune to be in this field how fascinating and endlessly tantalizing the study of China is." Diana Lary, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 85, No. 4 [full article at http://bit.ly/10rfYpu]

#4 on the Edmonton Journal's Non-fiction Bestsellers list for the week of May 17, 2013

Evans, a former cultural counselor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, China, and a former professor of Chinese history, combines his own experiences and recollections with history to describe China's cultural outreach over the past five decades." Book News Inc., 2013

From the Back Cover

Brian Evans blends memoir and history to draw a vivid picture of China and its cultural outreach over the past five decades. His historical and sociological insights as student, scholar, diplomat, and administrator form an authentic commentary as he discusses China and the Cold War; the Cultural Revolution; the post-Mao transformation of China; Canada’s relations with China; the cultural impact of the overseas Chinese community on the Canadian Prairies; development of China studies in Canada and elsewhere; the current impact of China on Canadian higher education; and recent Chinese history seen within a broader context. Through words and photographs, Evans seeks to make a contribution to the understanding of the nature and wide range of Canada–China relations, an area in which he himself has played a role. Brian L. Evans, C.M., studied Chinese and Chinese history at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Later, serving as a cultural counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, he was involved with Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s historic visit to China in 1973. He was Professor of Chinese History at the University of Alberta (1961–1996) in Edmonton. In his retirement, Brian Evans has devoted himself to recording and preserving the stories of Alberta’s Chinese pioneer immigrants.

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