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Fifth-generation Jerusalemite Aron Shai is a professor of history and East Asian studies at Tel Aviv University and serves as the incumbent of the Shoul N. Eisenberg Chair for East Asian Affairs as well as Vice-Rector of the university. He completed his doctoral thesis in history at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

Shai’s sharp-eyed description of wartime Greek Ioannina, colonial Hong Kong, Oxford, Bengal and Burma – not to mention Jerusalem – stems from his deep acquaintance with these distant locales, all of which he knows firsthand.

In addition to many academic books on China’s modern history, he published another historical novel, She Used to Call Him Mano(1998), and a colorful biography on Zhang Xue-liang, a Chinese-Manchurian general(2008).

A father of three and grandfather of six, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife Puah.

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Son to a Stranger
Covering two periods, from World War II to th...