Finding Iris Chang

Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind
by Paula Kamen [Da Capo]

Paula Kamen's previous book was a journal-like personal account of her own struggles with chronic migraines little understood by a succession of friends and caregivers. Here, Kamen's attempt to contextualize and understand the mental illness and suicide of her friend and fellow author Iris Chang is scarcely less personal. Chang was young, driven and brilliant – an investigative long-form journalist whose book-length studies in Chinese and Chinese-American history (including The Rape of Nanking, were widely celebrated for their depth and empathy with historical underdogs and the victims of forgotten injustice. Kamen examines how Chang's empathy and intense focus on her work were intertwined with issues of depression and bipolar disorder; she also draws upon Chang's life to make broader observations about the invisible forms of trauma often faced by dedicated investigative journalists. -jl

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