Iris Chang, holocaust historian
An appreciation of Iris Chang, who wrote The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. 'Those who knew Iris Chang used to worry about how she could cope with the gloom of her chosen work. But when they visited the house in California that she shared with her husband and saw him playing with their two-year-old son by the swimming pool in the backyard, they were reassured. The 36-year-old historian would sip lemonade with her friends at a Chinese café called the Tea House and, for a while, the torrent of terror that she frequently invited into her life would seem far away. Were it not for the crinkled maps of China, the pictures of mass graves and the two desperately overstuffed Rolodexes on her desk, Chang might have been just another former high school homecoming queen from the aptly named Sunnyvale. But she had become one of the foremost young historians of her generation after publishing, seven years ago, a bestselling account of the Rape of Nanking, one of the worst episodes of human cruelty in recent history. Her book brought international acclaim and controversy, and many spoke of a stellar future. It was not to be. In November she killed herself, no longer able to bear the weight of horrors from seven decades ago. She was widely praised for the emotion and commitment she brought to her work. On book tours the slim, ponytailed author spoke with an intensity that few listeners expected. Many broke down by her side, feeling compelled to recount their own tales of horror even if these were unrelated to her subject.' Click for more here.