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.
Tell us about yourself!
a historian, maybe
probably not, the flat somewhat nasal narration was more than i could take for hours. I gave up after 1 hour
maybe a good story but the format of a "tale told" was unappealing to me.
I read this book back in the 1990s in a book club and loved it, so I was happy to see it in Audible. I thought the narrator was very stilted and must have been chosen just because she can pronounce Chinese names. I must not have finished it in the 90s because the last half gets boring and I didn't remember it at all. Or was it the narration? I cannot recommend this version although the content is amazing. My schooling certainly never got up to Mao and the cultural Revolution. I may have to try her book in Mao that is more recent.
Wild Swans is one of the most gripping books I've bought from Audible. This is the story not just of the author, but of her mother and grandmother, too. Her grandmother's early life is like something out of an Amy Tan novel--her father sold her as a concubine to a middle-aged general. After his death (and a thwarted attempt to take her daughter away from her), she married a kindly physician whose family from his first marriage poisoned their life so much that they eventually moved to another city.
The author's mother, as tough and strong-minded as her own mother and daughter, joined the Communists in the hope that they would lead China to a better future, only to be badly disillusioned. The account of her ordeals, and that of her husband and children, exerts an almost hypnotic force on the listener; what they endured was terrible, but Chang writes with compassion for everyone involved and a thoughtful perspective that comes from several decades' remove. The ending is happy: Chang becomes a professor of English and linguistics and moves to Britain, where she still lives. Her mother and siblings are also thriving.
Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in China, likes the books of Amy Tan and Lisa See, or just enjoys a fascinating true story that reads like a novel. The narrator is always clear and easy to understand, and seems to pronounce Chinese correctly.
I knew few details about China and Mao until this book. Wonderfully written and narrated, the story concentrates on the people and how Mao's policies affected them. Class and rank were everything; individuality was basically outlawed. I especially liked the fact that she wrote about three generations. Excellent book!!
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
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