Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Iris Chang  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT

Born: 1968 in Princeton, New Jersey


Illinois Connection

Iris was raised in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area. She attended University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois; graduating in 1985. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois in 1989.

Biographical and Professional Information

Chang worked briefly as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune before completing a graduate degree in writing from the Johns Hopkins University and launching her career as a full-time author and lecturer.Chang had established herself as an invaluable source of information about Asia, human rights, and Asian American history. She wrote three books and died while working on her fourth. A book about the Bataan Death March in World War II. She interviewed surviving American soldiers and many of their stories were so gruesome that Chang had a breakdown. At the time of her death, she had been under a doctor's care and was taking anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs. Iris' death prompted her mother, Ying-Ying Chang, to write a memoir about her beloved daughter ''The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking''. It is a glimpse at her daughter, from her home-made childhood newspaper, to her early years as a journalist and later, as a promising young historian, her struggles with her son's autism and her tragic suicide. Talking about her daughter's final days and the anti-psychotic drugs she had been prescribed for stress - they may have been appropriate doses for the Caucasion male test subjects, but entirely too much for small-framed Asian women like her daughter. Posthumously, at least three films, have been produced, about or inspired by Iris' book, ''The Rape of Nanking''. Iris Chang's extensive research documents and papers are housed at the Hoover Institution.

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