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The author of the bawdy fantasy classic The Circus of Dr. Lao was born in 1905, named, apparently (with an irony he probably appreciated) Charles Grandison Finney, after the controversial 19th century evangelist of that name. The young Finney served in China with the United States Army 15th Infantry regiment beginning about 1927; it was at Tientsin in 1929 that The Circus of Dr. Lao was conceived; the book was finished five years later in Tucson, Arizona, where Finney was working for the Arizona Daily Star. In 1961, his memoirs of China were published as The Old China Hands.