Christy: Facts get in the way of fiction

After hearing the founder of the American Inland Mission tell about needs of impoverished people within a day’s train ride of her Asheville, N.C., home, against her parents’ wishes, Christy Huddleston goes off to teach in a one-room school in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. From the moment she steps off the train in a snow […]

The Sand Pebbles shows gunboat diplomacy’s murky underside

In 1925, Jack Holman becomes a Sand Pebble, one of the U. S. Navy seamen assigned to the San Pablo, an aging gunboat that patrols the Yangtze River. Jack’s a loner whose passion is engines. He quickly learns the San Pablo is “a home and a feeder,” where coolies do the work and living conditions […]