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Lu, Suping 1955–

Lu, Suping 1955–


Born October 29, 1955, in Danyang, Jiangsu Province, China. Education: Nanjing Teachers University, B.A., 1982; Ohio University, M.A., 1992; University of South Carolina, M.L.I.S., 1994.


Office—Love Library, University of Nebraska, 225 B, City Campus 4100, Lincoln, NE 68588-4100. E-mail—[email protected]


Educator, historian, and writer. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, from assistant professor to associate professor, 1994-2006, professor, 2006—.


They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals, Hong Kong University Press (Hong Kong, China), 2004.

(Editor) Minnie Vautrin, Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2008.


In his first book, They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals, Suping Lu uses newly uncovered eyewitness reports and material left behind by American and British journalists, missionaries, and diplomats to examine the notorious Nanjing Massacre. The Nanjing Massacre began following the Japanese capture of Nanjing in China in December 1937. The massacre became known as the Rape of Nanjing due to the horrible carnage inflicted by the Japanese on the Chinese residents, from the mass execution of soldiers who had surrendered to the thousands of women who were brutalized, raped, and also murdered by the invading Japanese army. In addition, the Japanese looted many of the city's commercial and residential districts and then proceeded to burn them to the ground.

Initially, those in the West disbelieved that such carnage was possible or could take place, and the Japanese themselves denied reports of the massacre. However, reports and documents, many included in Lu's book, began to get through, detailing the horrors that were occurring. Although the exact length of the massacre is not clearly known, most historians believe that the violence took place for up to six weeks and lasted until somewhere around early February 1938. Some estimate that during this period more than 200, 000 soldiers and civilians were murdered. The modern Japanese government has acknowledged that the massacre occurred, but some Japanese nationalists still maintain that it never happened.

In his book, the author begins by providing an overview of the Western nationals living in Nanjing at the time and then discusses the English media coverage of the massacre, most of which was smuggled out of the city while the massacre was underway. Lu also includes a look at the personal records of Americans living there at the time, as well as the American diplomatic records and U.S. naval intelligence reports. Lu's research for this book yields many new discoveries, and the author presents issues that previously have not been explored in depth. For example, the author examines Japanese attacks on American and British nationals along with damage and losses to American and British property. He includes numerous documents and lists of documents from the period as well as court testimonies and affidavits made by American and British business, military, diplomatic, and other personnel who witnessed the invasion and massacre. The author also includes the diary entries of Western missionaries.

"The strength of Suping Lu's book lies in the raw materials it provides," wrote David P. Barrett in the Canadian Journal of History. "Some of these are familiar, but are usefully reproduced here; others, such as some of the American and British diplomatic reports are new or little known." Margo S. Gewurtz wrote in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research: "The material provided in this volume will be of singular importance in advancing our understanding of this and other similar evils that challenge our humanity."

Lu is also the editor of Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38. The book provides a detailed account of the Nanjing Massacre and its horrors as recorded by Minnie Vautrin, an Illinois farmgirl who was a graduate of the University of Illinois, and who had moved to China in 1912 to serve as a missionary and educator. Vautrin was in Nanjing at the time of the massacre, teaching Chinese women at Ginling College. Via Vautrin's diary and letters, Lu provides an up close, firsthand account of daily life in Nanjing at that time, as well as Vautrin's own efforts to save ten thousand women and girls by providing sanctuary for them at the school. Lu presents Vautrin's writings chronologically. In addition to the diary entries and correspondence, the writings include reports, documents, and telegrams. The book also contains detailed maps, photographs, and in-depth annotations.



American Journal of Chinese Studies, April, 2007, David L. Kenley, review of They Were in Nanjing: The Nanjing Massacre Witnessed by American and British Nationals, pp. 87-88.

Canadian Journal of History, autumn, 2006, David P. Barrett, review of They Were in Nanjing, p. 426.

Choice, February, 2007, G. Zheng, review of They Were in Nanjing, p. 1036.

International Bulletin of Missionary Research, October, 2007, Margo S. Gewurtz, review of They Were in Nanjing, p. 212.


University of Illinois Press, (May 20, 2008), overview of Terror in Minnie Vautrin's Nanjing: Diaries and Correspondence, 1937-38.

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