Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular best seller and a critically acclaimed history of China that opened up the country to the world.
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 twentieth century.
Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this is a masterpiece that is extraordinary in every way.
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"Immensely moving and unsettling; an unforgettable portrait of the brain-death of a nation." (The Sunday Times)
"Wild Swans made me feel like a five-year-old. This is a family memoir that has the breadth of the most enduring social history." (The Independent on Sunday)
A timely reminder of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. Mrs Jung is tiresome sometimes in her perfection and one would like to hear more about her mother or grandmother, but the story is so painful one must overlook her self pity.
"Memorable, moving and saddening"
This is one of the most memorable books I’ve listened to or read. The 20th history of China is told through the personal experiences of three generations of women, including the author, who writing in the first person, brings the suffering and enormous social upheavals painfully to life. Lives made so grim by the injustices heaped on the women and their families that I felt fury on their behalf. I was engrossed throughout by the bravery and tenacity of victims of the different regimes the worst of which by far was that of Mao. I knew that he’d ruined the country by his extreme version of communism but hadn’t realised quite how vicious he and his henchmen were during the cultural revolution. Hitler and Stalin are rightly vilified, but, I think Mao outdid them in his megalomania. It’s sad how the early optimism that Mao’s take-over of the country would create a more equal society degenerated into a highly hierarchical regime of fear and cruelty, a ruined economy, mass starvation and millions of deaths. A period of madness that also obliterated much of China’s proud cultural heritage and scarred the lives of a generation.
I unreservedly recommend this superb and well narrated book.
I have never read anything about China, I am so happy I have read this. It has explained so much that I had no knowledge about. I am looking forward to learning more especially if it means that Jung Chang has written it. Thank you for sharing your family's amazing story .
I found this book although long, fascinating. I couldn't believe that people could be put through such awful things. It makes you feel eternally grateful that you weren't born there in that time. I think everyone should read it. A
"Gets under your skin"
This brave book allows us an insight into the China that we were never meant to see. Compelling and very very sad.
"Cannot recommend this highly enough"
I've never written a review on Audible before, but I feel compelled to do so after finishing Wild Swans. It is eye-opening and heart wrenching but well worth the listen.
This is a great book. I didn't know much about China, but this personal story has opened my eyes and given a great insight into an incredibly complex country. also very nicely read. thank you
"Fascinating book about communist China"
Really excellent book for a person who is interested in historic events that took place in Mao's China. It was indeed an eye opener for me. Being Russian I did not realise that the "communist regime tragedy" was not limited to USSR but far from it! The book is beautifully written and bearing in mind that it is banned for publishing in China makes it even more interesting to read. The personal story of the writer is truly incredible and does engage the reader very well.
"Beautiful, tragic, emotional, revealing"
No because you only need to listen/read it once as it would be too upsetting to listen to it again.
The book is a shocking tale of life in China in the reign of the monster that was Chairman Mao and has very real similarities to what we think life is like in North Korea presently. I experienced sadness, anger, grief and awe for these three strong, amazing women who lived through hell but kept their principles and remained good which by all accounts was very hard to do in such a politically suffocating environment.
I have never read anything like this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read and one everyone should read. Its a big part of history brought to life through the lives of three very real people.
Hell on earth - Mao's China from the women who lived through it
"Amazing story, beautifully told"
Knowing that it was a true story
The main character's mother arriving in a beautiful riverside town after her very own long march
The main character's father - tragic but brilliant man
Very difficult not to cry while listening to this. A few heartwarming moments as well though
"A great book"
A long but satisfying listen beautifully read. One to keep coming bqck to in the future.
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