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)
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.
Joy's voice in telling the story. It seemed that I was sitting in her living room and listening to her tell a story.
I liked the way the author intertwined her personal story with the history of China
This is a "must read" if you are traveling to China and want to understand how the country evolved to where it is today.
The Q :While I drive, on public transportation, when there is a need to tune everyone out and transport myself to another place, another time...
This is just an eye-opening read. I knew nothing of China - and now have some insight into a closed world. One can not imagine a family traversing such change, personal challenge, physical and mental strife - and it is not a single moment in their lives but a day after day, year after year for decades. It is one of the most intense human dramas I have ever read.
The relationship between the generations of the women. Although all 3 lives were amazingly different - , there is this bond of diamond strength between them. One instinctlively knows they could not possibly have agreed or even understood, the decisions made, yet there is a deep understanding, respect and support. I came across admiring each for their personal strength and courage during the most dire of times and events. Their life's course is something that is completely foreign to me - yet I was absorbed, absorbed, absorbed. I would read and think, it can't get any worse, and then this family would take another hit. Ms. Chang writes so wonderfully, even though this is her story, she seeks not sympathy but understanding with historical perspective and personal experience.
The story of the famine period was just shocking. A continuation of man's inhumanity to man. I am saddened by my own ignorance of Mao's China.
Haven't listened to any of Joy's other performances - would like to. Liked her pace and inflection.
Simply surviving in their world takes warrior strength.
Young women should read to get an intimate understanding of what women have had to go through to survive. Especially in Western culture we take our freedoms for granted and need to be more reflective of what came before us. These women's stories take place in the not so distant past, and we need to understand their decisions, and honor their struggles.
I did not like it at all because of the narrator. the book is written as a narrative and it comes across like a school teacher reading to her class. I found it hard to connect to the drama of the story. The lack of dialogue requires an exceptional reader to bring this story to life and this reader was far from exceptional. Obviously the book is full of interesting history but her lecturing style was bland and boring.
Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See, These were absolutely spellbinding and provided good depictions of recent Chinese history
Definitely not!! I already wasted a credit on this one.
This was highly recommended to me as a good read and I am sorry I did not buy the book.
I lost interest and didn't finish it.
Something darker or with more action.
Yes. I thought the narration was fine.
I would not recommend this book. It was almost too painful to listen to. The book was informative about the nightmare of this era, and of course I felt terrible for these women and admired that they survived as they did, but I found the minutiae numbing and the details of their personal lives and humiliations embarrassing .
I found the extreme faithfulness to the chronological narrative led to a great amount of repetition. If something happened in 1959, and again in 1962 and again in 1968, such as the parents' relationship difficulties or the trends of the organized persecution, it was presented in equal detail every time. How many times did the mother become disappointed with the father putting party first? After all these occasions of essentially the same fight the mother seemed more surprised than I was at his responses.
The narrator was clear and seemed very comfortable with names and places, but tended to make everything sound equally important. Descriptions of the grandmother's garden were read with the same tone as "My mother never forgave my father for..."
I think we pretty much know everything.
Mysteries, classics, non-fiction, time travel, Bounty hunters, grim reapers... anything but vampires, please!
I've listened to half a dozen books that detail the asian female's plight through oppression, war and emmegration. This is no Memoir of a Geisha or Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The story leaps about, articulating what happened to certain women, but putting you inside none of them.I simpler didn't get enough empathy to tell them part. After a few hours, I was not connected enough to catch the jumps, or know or care where what perspective I was currently veiwing. Hopelessly lost, I put it away, thinking that perhaps I'd go back, and simply never did. Over 800 books, and this is only one of two that I've never finished
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