SHANTUNG COMPOUND: The Story of Men and Women Under Pressure by Langdon B. Gilkey

SHANTUNG COMPOUND: The Story of Men and Women Under Pressure

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The author Justifies his offering of this account of his experience of twenty years ago in a Japanese concentration camp on the ground that it may have permanent value as a story of what happens when people are faced with circumstances almost entirely at odds with their previous life. The Justification is well authenticated in the narrative. Professor Gilkey was one of nearly 2,000 Westerners rounded up in Peking and other points in China and sent to a former Mission compound turned concentration camp at Weihsien. The camp imposed no extreme hardships and he has no horror stories to relate. Life was ""almost normal and yet intensely difficult:,"" not cutting the internees off completely from their old styles and hopes, but at the same time, depriving them of amenities, privacies, and other conditions that had insulated them against misfortunes heretofore. They were left to themselves to organize their common life, perform the labor required by their necessities, deal with their own ""black market"" that prevailed both among the internees and between them and their Japanese guards; struggle with their teen-age contingent, and control their hostilities. The narrative is well-paced, details are vivid, and the story absorbing both because of its readability and because it deals with dimensions of the problem of being human that are met far outside, and after, the camp.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1966
Publisher: Harper & Row