Reviewed: July 2018
Synopsis: George Aylwin Hogg (26 January 1915 - 22 July 1945) was a British adventurer and a man of remarkable dedication and honour. Though he died in 1945 at the age of thirty, Aylwin's name and legacy is remembered in China to this day -- where as a wise and noble friend to the people of China, he immersed himself in the culture and life of the Chinese people whom he served in his mission.
In Blades of Grass: The Story of George Aylwin Hogg, author and nephew of the late Mr Hogg, Mark Aylwin Thomas, explores his uncle's own letters and writings and shares this astonishing life story of perseverance, service, and dedication. Thomas offers a personal and compelling window into the character of this remarkable man, and Hogg's own words lend an authentic and distinctive insight into his service -- training young Chinese men in their vocations in the remote confines of Northern China in Shandan.
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.
Critique: A remarkable life lived out in remarkable times, Blades of Grass: The Story of George Aylwin Hogg is a deftly crafted and impressively informative biography that is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library 20th Century Biography collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that this biography of George Aylwin Hogg is also available in a paperback edition and in a digital book format.