> Skip to content

A living history of China told through the story of one remarkable family

Frank Ching brings to life 900 years of Chinese history through his own fascinating family tree. Beginning with his search for the grave of his first recorded ancestor, the 11th century poet Qin Guan, and ending with a moving account of his relationship with his father, a victim of China's historic upheaval, Frank Ching introduces a colourful cast of characters. His unbroken family line includes - among many others - a lovelorn concubine, a traitor, a military hero, an imperial ghost-writer, a minister of punishments and a woman noted for her skills in both verse and martial arts. There is scarcely an aspect of Chinese life, from shamanism to violent rebellion, that Ching doesn't touch upon in this fascinating work. Through his vivid and personal portraits of his ancestors the history of China itself unfolds: from the days of the ancient empire to its radical transformation today.


A stunning accomplishment...Frank Ching brings to life the last nine centuries of Chinese history and culture as almost no other work in the English language has done

Orville Schell, New York Times

[An] extraordinary quest through 900 dramatic years of ancestral history

Jonathan Mirsky

Almost a millennium of Chinese history, reduced to a human scale

London Review of Books

Fascinating...The story of China's survival

Wall Street Journal

A tour de force

Washington Post

Delightful...a tour de force of the cyclical rise and fall of China

Steve Tsang, Far Eastern Review

Not only a fascinating account of an extraordinary family...but provides a vivid picture of nearly a thousand years of history.

John Gittings, author of The Changing Face of China

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Ancestors
    Frank Ching



    September 30, 2011

    Ebury Digital

    544 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
  • Paperback


    September 1, 2009


    544 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Frank Ching