Henan - The Galilee of China by Paul Hattaway (2009) is Volume 2 in the Fire & Blood series out of a projected 11 volumes. The book is 353 pages long. It is split into five parts with 37 chapters, plus appendices that include: How many Christian are there in China? and, summary figures, maps and tables, ending in the bibliography. On the inside front cover is a map of Henan with a map of China, surrounding countries and China's provinces with Henan highlighted for ease of location.
The book is a VERY good read and goes into good detail about the Province of Henan (formerly known as Honan), its history, population, Christian missionaries (Catholics and Protestant under separate chapters) as well as persecution and other interesting pieces of information, from beginning to present.
The chapters on Jonathan Goforth and Marie Monsen - both revivalists were very good as were the chapters of the Three-Self Church and the chapter on Cults and the various House-Churches. Chapters 24-26 were a year-by-year account from 1980-2008 of the most prominent features - from revival to persecutions. Persecution of the Christians ebbed and flowed, but to read about extreme beatings and torture, some of which happened just a few years ago (and still does) is hard. There are a few picture of actual Christian's being tortured - the sadistic police guards posed as they performed their evil deeds in an attempt to promote themselves! However, the author states that much that has happened to the believers could not be written as it was too disgusting and vile. On a positive notes the brethren have seen mnay signs and wonders to the glory of God, including healings and people being raised from the dead and fellow inmates conversions - the greatest miracle of all.
From the late 90s, different high profile western people travelled to China and were taken in by what they saw as they visited state run churches etc. and were told what they wanted to hear. These statements are reproduced within this book, as are the house church responses. They read in quite a contrast.
All-in-all the book is an excellent read, good length chapters, not too long or short, lots of pictures, many maps, statistics, facts, eyes witness account, testimonies, interviews alongside more than 1,000 footnotes/sources of info. The book is historical, educational, informative, thoughtful, challenging, encouraging and distressing in parts though superbly written with much balance.
This book is full of challenges, both by what people have achieved and what still remains to be achieved. Suffering is always difficult to read, and the mix of emotions is very strong, but always the central message brings hope. Incredible capture of history.