Book details

Publication date: October 2013
Features: 50 B&W photographs, 1 map, preface, notes, bibliography, index
Keywords: China Studies;History;Biography
Subject(s): BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Historical, Creative Writing, Creative Writing / Auto/biography & Memoir, China Studies / History / Biography, China Studies;History;Biography, Biography, History, Education
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press, Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life

Brian L. Evans. Brian L. Evans, CM, studied Chinese and Chinese history at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and later served with the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. He was Professor of Chinese History at the University of Alberta (1961–1996). In his retirement, Brian Evans devoted himself to recording and preserving the stories of Alberta’s Chinese pioneer immigrants. He lived in Edmonton until his death in 2016.

"...U of A historian Brian Evans has written a biography of this exceptional Canadian, published by the U of A Press-The Remarkable Chester Ronning: Proud Son of China. Some 30 years in the making, the book is based largely on interviews with Ronning in 1980." Geoff McMaster, University of Alberta, January 3, 2014 [Full article plus video at]

"Ronning was indeed a man far ahead of many in his time. Against the common wisdom of Canadian and American foreign policy during the fifties and sixties, Ronning was a strong advocate for the recognition of Red China as it was known in those days. He was recognized for his diplomatic skills with several foreign postings, and was heavily involved in attempts to get America and Vietnam to the peace table-well before Nixon had similar inclinations leading to the end of that difficult war and his visit to China in the early 1970's. Ronning was well-loved and respected in China.." Wayne A. Holst, Anglican Church of Canada Continuing Education Plan, January 7, 2014 [Full article at]

" intriguing glimpse of China in turmoil and one Canadian's attempt to make sense of it all.... The Remarkable Chester Ronning is a deft and skillful biography..." Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter, February 1, 2014 [Full article at]

"Chester Ronning (1894-1984) was indeed an extraordinary Canadian, an all-round public man.... Brian L. Evans, a professor of Chinese history and a former member of the Canadian embassy in Beijing, has produced a balanced, discerning and engaging biography." George Fetherling, Diplomat and International Canada, Spring 2014

"Brian Evans, a former diplomat and respected scholar at the University of Alberta, has written a portrait of Ronning that is both personal and professional. Evans draws from family letters, official records, interviews, and academic comments. He has assessed Ronning’s life with care, avoiding excessive claims but giving credit for substantial contributions…. While Evans’ book is a biography, it presents a succinct overview of the political movements that reshaped China during the past century. Evans writes with clarity and authority, providing a fascinating study for students of Canadian diplomacy and for readers interested in modern China."

Victor Rabinovitch, Canada's History Magazine

"[Chester Ronning] became active in Alberta politics and saw service in the RCAF during the war. He finally got the chance to return to China in 1945 and remained there for two years, serving as Canada's ambassador. In 1954 he was appointed ambassador to Norway and Iceland and in 1957 he was high commissioner in India. He also served with delegations to the Geneva Convention dealing with Korea, Laos, and Vietnam.... As the author concludes, 'By any measure, Ronning was an extraordinary person who led an extraordinary life during extraordinary times.'"

Alberta History

ISBNs: 9780888646637 978-0-88864-663-7 Title: the remarkable chester ronning