Canadian author pens China book at 98

By China Daily features staff(China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-13

Canadian author pens China book at 98

Crook makes Beijing her home, where her three sons and two great-grandchildren were born.

"We belonged. This is why we stayed."

The couple made their home in the Chinese capital, where their three sons were born, as well as two of their great-grandchildren.

Crook, born Isabel Brown to Canadian missionaries in Chengdu, discovered her own life's mission after meeting in 1940 the man who would become her husband.

"I thought: 'They (my parents) live a much better life than I do, because they had something.' So I wanted to find something to do, a cause," Crook says during the Beijing interview.

"I wrote to my mother and I said: 'Please send me some of those religious books so I could get a cause.

"I read them. I didn't get any cause. And it was just at that time that I met David Crook, and he was a communist. And when he talked ... I liked passion. I decided that my cause would be communism."

They were married in London in 1942. She joined the Communist Party of Great Britain, in which David was already a member.

Inspired by Edgar Snow's account of the Chinese revolution in Red Star Over China, the couple returned to China from England in 1947 to write a book about life in the Communist-controlled areas. Among their book collaborations are Ten Mile Inn: Revolution in a Chinese Village (1959) and Ten Mile Inn: Mass Movement in a Chinese Village (1979), which chronicled land reform in Shilidian, a village in Hebei province, while the civil war was going on.

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