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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China | [Jung Chang]

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular best seller which has sold more than 13 million copies and a critically acclaimed history of China; a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty and an uplifting story of bravery and survival.
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Publisher's Summary

Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular best seller that has sold more than 13 million copies, a critically acclaimed history of China, a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty, and an uplifting story of bravery and survival. Through the story of three generations of women in her own family - the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother, and the daughter herself - Jung Chang reveals the epic history of China's 20th century. Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this masterpiece is extraordinary in every way.

©2011 Jung Chang (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

"An inspiring tale of women who survived every kind of hardship, deprivation and political upheaval with their humanity intact." (Hillary Clinton, in O, The Oprah Magazine)

"Wild Swans is riveting. It's blindingly good: a mad adventure story, a fairy tale of courage, and a tale of atrocities. You can't, as they say, put it down. (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (286 )
5 star
 (136)
4 star
 (86)
3 star
 (41)
2 star
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1 star
 (6)
Overall
4.3 (242 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (244 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Barbara Johnston Gilbert, Arizona 01-07-13
    Barbara Johnston Gilbert, Arizona 01-07-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    46
    2
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    Story
    "Reveals the Evolution of Communism in China."
    What did you love best about Wild Swans?

    The author uses the story of 3 generations or her family to reveal the story of China.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a tapestry that included both the personal and political histories of a place that has been shrouded in mystery.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Duarte, CA, United States 09-12-14
    Bob Duarte, CA, United States 09-12-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    36
    13
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    "Gripping story - I couldn't put it down"

    Amazing account of life under Mao. I have many Chinese friends, both in the U.S. and in China. This gave me an understanding of what some of them (the older ones) went through during the Mao years.

    This is an important work to help Westerners understand recent history, and to help understand that China today is far different and much more free than it was then.

    The story is fascinating; Jung Chang is a master at telling it; the reader was superb at helping me feel what the author and her family were going through. I'd give it 10 stars if I could.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Wikstrom Hayesville NC 07-16-14
    Judith Wikstrom Hayesville NC 07-16-14 Member Since 2007

    rosebud

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "China in the 20th Century"
    If you could sum up Wild Swans in three words, what would they be?

    exactingly painful deception


    What did you like best about this story?

    how truth was a fairytale


    Which character – as performed by Joy Osmanski – was your favorite?

    the communist mother


    Any additional comments?

    excellent, chilling description of the red guard

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian 02-23-14
    brian 02-23-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    73
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    122
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    Story
    "Three Generations."
    Would you listen to Wild Swans again? Why?

    I would in case I may have missed some information.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The information on China before Mao's time.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I'm not certain.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    None.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mick Marsh 05-22-13
    Mick Marsh 05-22-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    Overall
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    Story
    "An odd piece of writing"
    What made the experience of listening to Wild Swans the most enjoyable?

    The reader.


    What about Joy Osmanski’s performance did you like?

    A terrific reading voice, she was able to keep up interest even though there was little dialog.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A Chinese women's odyssey - from bound feet through communism to the present.


    Any additional comments?

    Information filled, and epic, I consider this tome an important contribution to history. Literature? Maybe not. This book has very little dialog. It is a long journey, most of it "told"; very little "shown".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 12-16-12
    Daniel 12-16-12 Member Since 2011

    early modern historian

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    25
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    "The best kind of intimate history"
    If you could sum up Wild Swans in three words, what would they be?

    Frightful, sad, courageous


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wild Swans?

    The stories of the author's mother, desperately trying to be a good communist and to believe in the ideology, but at every turn harassed and thwarted by an irrational state and her husband.


    What does Joy Osmanski bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She tells the stories in a believable way. She handles the Chinese names and words well.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were dozens. It is appropriate that this is one of the biggest best-sellers of all memoirs in English. 16 million sold. Everyone should learn about China in the 20th century, and this is a good start to learn about it. I'll be assigning the print version for my world civilization students, at the college level.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda United States 12-03-12
    Brenda United States 12-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    13
    4
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    Story
    "Great Book!"
    If you could sum up Wild Swans in three words, what would they be?

    Heart wrencing, historic and hopeful!


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is hard to beleive this is non-fiction. I can not fathom the life that the people of China has undergone even in the 20th century.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    raku 09-09-12
    raku 09-09-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome Epic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this to some friends with similar interests


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    None


    What aspect of Joy Osmanski’s performance would you have changed?

    She has a very harsh tone. Soften it a bit please. It is hard listening to her for long


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 09-09-12
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 09-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    199
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    231
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    Story
    "Life in China - One family's story"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the fact that the political and family dynamics were explained well. For someone such as myself who had very little exposure to modern Chinese history it was great that the author explained this. If she hadn't, I doubt I would have understood why her family was treated the way they were


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    One reviewer earlier put it that it was like having a teacher read to you. THis description is apt. I think it both assisted in the educational aspect of this autobiography, while removing the emotional components.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me angry, particularly toward the middle, where the obvious betrayal of those who gave all for the government were summarily betrayed. The ending was fitting, hopeful, and the epilogue helped explain what happened later, which didn't leave us hanging


    Any additional comments?

    An important family history, wonderfully descriptive. Worth the read if the narration doesn't distract you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Padden mission, BC, Canada 08-22-12
    Padden mission, BC, Canada 08-22-12 Member Since 2006

    I started reading eight years ago. I like medical, legal, and historical fiction. Biographies are sometimes interesting too.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Historical with real characters"

    This was an eye opener into the history of China and the changes in government that impacted the lives of the Chinese. A very good insight into the beliefs and values of these people as well as their strengths in facing their many trials.

    Not like a history book but very informative. I was drawn into the book immediately.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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