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
"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)
The author uses the story of 3 generations or her family to reveal the story of China.
It was a tapestry that included both the personal and political histories of a place that has been shrouded in mystery.
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.
exactingly painful deception
how truth was a fairytale
the communist mother
excellent, chilling description of the red guard
I would in case I may have missed some information.
The information on China before Mao's time.
I'm not certain.
A terrific reading voice, she was able to keep up interest even though there was little dialog.
A Chinese women's odyssey - from bound feet through communism to the present.
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".
early modern historian
Frightful, sad, courageous
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.
She tells the stories in a believable way. She handles the Chinese names and words well.
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.
Heart wrencing, historic and hopeful!
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.
Yes, I would recommend this to some friends with similar interests
She has a very harsh tone. Soften it a bit please. It is hard listening to her for long
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
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.
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
An important family history, wonderfully descriptive. Worth the read if the narration doesn't distract you.
I started reading eight years ago. I like medical, legal, and historical fiction. Biographies are sometimes interesting too.
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.
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