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What does it mean to be “thrice alien”? Isabelle Zimmer Maynard is one who knows. Born in 1929 in Tientsin, China, Maynard was the only child of Russian Jewish parents who had fled the Communists and sought refuge in this teeming city on the North China Sea. They subsequently survived the Japanese invasion of China and ultimately escaped to San Francisco when the Chinese Communists seized power. China Dreams, like a string of beguiling pearls, is a collection of autobiographical stories of an amazing childhood. Maynard's ability to reconstruct her world in the moment will delight and enchant readers. She says, “I have carried China all my life. I do not claim accuracy of history—only accuracy of the heart.” Her keen eye and fetching wit provide an arresting, poignant, highly personal portrait of a now-vanished world once shared by thousands of European Jews.

Series Editor

Stone, Albert E.

Publication Date



University of Iowa Press


Iowa City

Total Pages


ISBN of Print Version



Biography, Jews


Copyright © 1996 by the University of Iowa Press. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.

China Dreams: Growing Up Jewish in Tientsin