Subtitle China's Lost Battalion and the Fall of Shanghai
Acclaimed historian Stephen Robinson brings to life a legendary last stand.
Shanghai 1937. With invading Japanese troops poised to capture one of the world’s greatest cities after almost three months of brutal urban warfare, the Chinese Army begins to retreat – except for a single battalion that stays behind to fight. These soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Xie Jinyuan, known as the ‘Eight Hundred Heroes’, defended Sihang Warehouse – a six-storey concrete building and natural fortress. The men repulsed waves of Japanese attacks with intense bravery as thousands of spectators looked on from the relative safety of the British Concession inside Shanghai’s International Settlement. Western journalists with front row seats to the spectacle spread the story across the globe as the plight of the heroes captured the sympathy of the world. Their valour raised Chinese morale as did the actions of the heroine Yang Huimin, a Girl Guide who delivered a Chinese flag to the defenders that flew over Sihang Warehouse as a beacon of hope.
Eight Hundred Heroes is an in-depth account, resulting from extensive research that for the first time comprehensively utilises first-hand accounts of the Chinese participants and the observations of westerners who witnessed the battle at close range. It also explains how this incredible feat of heroism became an enduring myth that helped define modern China.