Across China’s Gobi: The lives of Evangeline French, Mildred Cable, Francesca French of the China Inland Mission

Linda K. Benson

Across China's Gobi

Book Description

In the 1920s, three adventurous and determined British women missionaries traveled along China’s old Silk Road to gossip the Gospel in the Muslim regions of northwestern China. As this ground-breaking biography of Mildred Cable and the sisters Eva and Francesca French illustrates, their dedicated service in the Gobi Desert as members of the China Inland Mission (CIM) was only one aspect of these three unconventional women’s lives.

The Trio as they became known, advocated (and personified) equality for women in mission service; they denounced the British opium trade in China through their writings; and on home leaves, they wrote and published books that, in their lifetimes, brought them wide acclaim, honors, and influence as travelers, writers, and popular public speakers. Ultimately, the collaboration between Francesca French and Mildred Cable produced over 20 books, including Mildred Cable’s renowned travel classic, The Gobi Desert. They were honored by several learnéd societies, receiving the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial medal of the Royal Central Asia Society (predecessor to the Royal Society for Asian Affairs) and the Livingstone medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

In this detailed and carefully researched account, Linda Benson reveals three extraordinary lives while providing fresh insight into the role of European women in the China mission field, the impact of warlord politics in Gansu and Xinjiang, and the lives of Muslim women in the far Asian northwest.

About the Author

Linda Benson is professor of Chinese history at Oakland University and author of several books and many articles on northwestern China and its Muslim minorities.