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The Flying Scotsman: The Eric Liddell Story Paperback – 1 Jun 2007
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Eric Liddell is famous for being the man who would not compromise his religious principles and refused to compete in the Olympics on a Sunday - despite the fact that he was the red hot favourite for the gold. Instead, he entered a different event that was not being competed on the Sabbath...and won a gold anyway. One of Scotland's finest athletes, Liddell was feted throughout the United Kingdom. At the height of his fame, however, he slipped quietly out of the limelight to become a missionary in China, where he later came to an unpleasant end in a Japanese internment camp. Eric Liddell's remarkable story was the subject of the smash 1982 film "Chariots of Fire."
About the Author
The daughter of Magnus 'Mastermind' Magnusson, Sally is a very experienced author, as well as presenting news, current affairs and religious programmes for the BBC. This is a reworking of one of her earliest books.
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The book covers his entire life, but the China interest really begins on page 85, when he returned to Tientsin as an adult to join the staff of the Anglo-Chinese college. He apparently “did not make remarkable progress as a teacher”, but unsurprisingly, “on the sports field it was a different matter”, as he took over the college athletics and “soon had his boys breaking records”. However, he still felt the pull towards “front line” missionary work, and joined his brother at Sioachang (now Xiaozhang), Hebei province, in 1937. He worked there until 1940, notably in the hospital, helping casualties of the Sino-Japanese fighting.
By 1940, he was back in Scotland on leave, and given the international situation, could well have stayed. But Liddell returned to China, and was thus interned by the Japanese when hostilities broke out with the UK and the US in December 1941, initially at Tientsin and finally, in 1943, at Weihsien. He threw himself wholeheartedly into camp life and was loved by his fellow internees, especially the children – his death, to a brain tumour, was a blow to the whole camp. The city of Weifang commemorated Liddell's life by laying a wreath at the memorial headstone marking his grave in 2005, as part of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the internment camp, with further celebrations at the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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