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Meet the Author

March 20, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Patti Isaacs | The Second Long March: Memoir from a Witness to China’s Transformation

@ Beaverdale Books

What does the future hold for China on the world stage?

To better understand where China is headed, it helps to know where the country was, not that long ago. Minnesota author Patti Isaacs lived in China in 1981 during the last days of communist economic policies there and returned to that country to live and work again in 2005 after significant development had occurred.

Her book, The Second Long March, Memoir from a Witness to China’s Transformation, chronicles life lived on the cusp of economic change, and the stunning contrasts experienced by her Chinese friends and their city once that transformation was well underway. Rather than a wonky examination of politics and economics, the book covers China’s profound economic and cultural shift from primitive conditions and sluggish government-run institutions to cutthroat capitalism and its accompanying benefits and drawbacks. Through personal stories, it presents Chinese culture and traditions as they have been altered—or not—by radical change.

About the Author

Patti Isaacs is a cartographer and writer who lives in Stillwater, MN.  She grew up in a family that loved to travel. She became the unofficial curator of the family’s subscription to National Geographic, which fueled her interest in maps and the wider world. In college, Patti met Gauss, an Italian who was majoring in Chinese. Ideal partners in travel and life, in 1981 they lived for a year in the city of Xian, China.

During that year she witnessed the last days of communism and the very beginning of China’s conversion to capitalism. In 2005, she returned to Xi’an to work for two months. She revisited many of the same places and documented, in photographs, how they had changed. She also interviewed former students; people who, she learned, were among the architects of China’s modern economic miracle.

Ms. Isaacs’s maps have appeared in publications with national distribution including National Geographic Traveler magazine and many textbooks. Her writing has appeared in Adventure Cyclist magazine, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Concrete, an anthology of essays about Chinese cities published by the Shanghai Literary Review.

This event will be moderated by Kyle McCord.  Kyle is the author of seven books books including National Poetry Series Finalist, Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders, X-Rays and Other Landscapes, and Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult. He holds an M.F.A. from University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He served as associate poetry editor of The Nation and currently serves as Executive Editor of Gold Wake Press and Acquisitions Director for Atmosphere Press. He is married to the visual artist Lydia McCord. He teaches in Des Moines, Iowa.

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