The Book

Book cover

Blades of Grass: The Story of George Aylwin Hogg is the definitive biography, the inspirational life-story, of the author's uncle who died in China in 1945 at the age of only thirty after achieving truely amazing things during his seven years there, becoming one of the most famous social and historical figures in Chinese history.

It is the profound life-story of a unique humanitarian spirit, of vision, dedication, heroism and sacrifice which has been officially recognised as one of the most significant stories in modern Chinese history. Consequently, the book is at present being translated into Mandarin Chinese for distribution throughout China.

George Aylwin Hogg was part of a vision to create a unique form of industrial training on which to base the reconstruction of industry for a new post-war China. While a vignette of Aylwin’s life was portrayed in Roger Spottiswoode’s 2008 film, The Children of Huang Shi, the full picture of this remarkable life—often painted with Aylwin’s own words—shows how this young Englishman’s life was deeply interwoven in the lives of the men and people he served.

The logline is ...that of an adventurous young Oxford graduate who, in 1937 accompanying his activist pacifist aunt Miss Muriel Lester, travels via the USA and Japan to China where, as a journalist, he reports to the world on the three-sided war there cutting through the fog of fake news (Japan's propaganda); and as an inspired teacher he succeeds in creating a technical training programme for refugees, battling rife corruption, desease and galloping inflation.

He immerses himself in the language and culture. He grows to understand the people and is accepted by them. He comes to identify himself as Chinese.

He travels with guerilla forces, find's the love of his life, adopts four brothers and dramatically saves his school from the advancing invaders.

His school thrives even today in the ancient oasis town of Shandan, on the Silk Road on the edge of the Gobi Desert.

He is buried there and is respectfully remembered as a wise and noble friend of China; a bridge between East and West: a fact acknowledged by China's President Xi Jinping on his state visit to the UK in 2015.

The essence of the book is by believing in yourself, trusting in fate and shrugging off prejudice to race, colour and creed, you can achieve truly amazing things