Ruth's Record

Ruth Hill Barr

The year 1941 was a turning point for the world, but long-time Shanghai resident Ruth Hill Barr had no way of knowing that when she started her five-year diary on January 1st. Before the year was over, the Japanese Army had occupied Shanghai's International Settlement, and she and her family were stranded as enemy aliens, soon to be placed in a Japanese internment camp.

This book includes the full text of Ruth’s diary along with explanations and memories by her daughter Betty, revealing with fascinating detail the anguish and, incredibly, the continuity of life inside and outside the Shanghai camps during the war.

A remarkable document – with telling detail and often shocking juxtaposition, Ruth Hill Barr’s diary conveys the sense of impending peril as war and Japanese dominance encroach on the privileged lives of Shanghai’s foreign residents; she then provides the gripping true story of life in Lunghwa, the internment camp made famous in J.G. Ballard’s novel Empire of the Sun.
—Duncan Hewitt, former BBC China correspondent