Roger B. Jeans is Elizabeth Lewis Otey Professor of East Asian History at Washington and Lee University. He is the author of Democracy and Socialism in Republican China.
For two and a half years (1937-1939), Captain John Seymour Letcher commanded a company of the U.S. Embassy Marine Guard in Peking. During that time, he wrote a series of letters to his parents in Virginia describing the life of a Westerner in the former imperial city. During that same time, China was invaded by Japan.Captain Letcher describes the flavor of life in pre-Communist China—the food, servants, cold Peking winters and torrid summers, hunting, and excursions to the major tourist sites.B