The Soong Sisters

ELING, Chingling, and Mayling, these are the names of the three extraordinary sisters whose personal achievements and marriages have given them such a place in the history of modern China that one sometimes speaks of a revival of China’s mediæval ‘Soong dynasty.’ Miss Hahn tells the stories of their lives in a spirited, well-informed book, parts of which, as she tells us, were written in intervals between air raids on Nationalist China’s much-bombed capital, Chungking. Of the three sisters Madame Chiang Kai-shek is probably best known in America because of her articles and broadcasts and indefatigable work for the national cause since the beginning ot China’s struggle for existence against Japan. Madame Sun Yat-sen, the graceful and still beautiful widow of the father of Chinese nationalism, is the heroine of the Chinese Communists and Leftist sympathizers. Madame Kung, wife of the Chinese Minister of Finance, is perhaps the least known of the three abroad; but she is a woman of considerable force of character; and, unless rumors about her skill in silver and currency speculation are quite erroneous, Miss Hahn is perhaps euphemistic in speaking of ‘ her special talents in organization and finance.’ The story of the three sisters, daughters of a Chinese emigrant to America who was a convert to Christianity, is a fascinating saga; and Miss Hahn skillfully interweaves the personal material which she has collected in abundance with some indispensable background knowledge of Chinese history. W. H. C.