Showing posts from March, 2019

A Forgotten Kingdom

Peter Goullart was a White Russian emigre in China who progressed from being a clerk through being the tour guide to wealthy Westerners to a promotor of co-operatives on behalf of the Chinese Nationalist government in the remote province of Yunnan from 1939 to 1948. He left on a plane never to return shortly after the brutal arrival of the Chinese communists who were to change the life of Yunnan for good. Ironically in the process destroying the co-operatives that Goullart had laboured to help launch and which had encouraged a significant momentum towards prosperity. Their grassroots collaborative agency naturally distressing the centralised directives of a collectivist state in the making.
Goullart's "Forgotten Kingdom: Nine Years in Yunnan, 1939-1948" is his charming account of his life there. It is an accomplished text where he sees with a clear eye - compassionate, balanced and engaged. This is an account with neither romanticism nor cynicism but one of a place actu…