The dramatic true-life story of George Hogg, a young Oxford graduate who is caught up in the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 and the Chinese Civil war, and who leads a group of Chinese children hundreds of miles across 15,000-foot mountains to safety - only to die tragically in early 1945.
The author, James MacManus, was working as a reporter in Shanghai in 1980s when he heard talk of a statue being up in the remote town of Shandon on the Mongolian border in memory of an Englishman called George Hogg. This book is the result of his investigations - and the basis for a major feature film called 'The Children of Huang Shi', directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, to be released in spring 2008.
One westerner who lived in China throughout the Cultural Revolution described Hogg as "an outstanding young Englishman who fell in love with foreign people and devoted his life to their betterment. What he did made him deeply and widely loved."
MacManus has been back to China to interview the surviving old boys of Hogg's school. Hogg's reputation is kept alive by their loyalty to this day.
The dramatic trajectory of Hogg's life took him within a few months from a privileged existence at Oxford to life on the run from Japanese secret police in China.
James MacManus is a foreign correspondent for the 'Guardian' and the 'Daily Telegraph' and managing editor for the 'Times'. Today he is managing director of the 'Times Literary Supplement' and executive director of News International.