PEARL S. BUCK: A CULTURAL BIOGRAPHY, by Peter Conn, Cambridge University Press, 468 pages, $29.95.

The extraordinary life of Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, a remarkable writer raised in China by American missionary parents and whose prize-winning books reflected her experiences and observations in that country, is well documented in this recent biography. Conn recalls Buck’s childhood, when Chinese children made fun of her blond hair and blue eyes and called her a “foreign devil”; her 1917 marriage to John Lossing Buck; the birth of their mentally-handicapped daughter, Carol, about whom Buck wrote The Child Who Never Grew; her more than 70 books, including her second novel, The Good Earth, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938; her creation of Welcome House, the first international adoption agency; the establishment of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation that provided medical care and education for Amerasian children in Asian countries; and her active participation in the American civil rights movement.

One Response

  1. Robert F. Merrill

    Dear Peter Conn:

    I’m wondering why your Cultural Biography of Pearl Buck fails to mention the efforts of the Flying Tigers and China/Burma/India voluteers from the US who did so much to support China during its time of persecution at the hands of the Japanese. Since Pearl Buck was, as you write, instrumental in Chinese emergency relief efforts, she must’ve been well aware and highly appreciative of the aid these American volunteers proffered, I would think.

    I’m somewhat connected to a local group of Flying Tigers/CBI vets who are regularly honored by a very greatful Chinese-American friend. I do a bit of musical entertaining for the events. We would be very interested in a reply, if you’d be so kind. Thanks for a fine book!. Sincerely, Robert F. Merrill


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