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The Rape of Nanking | [Iris Chang]

The Rape of Nanking

In December 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. Amazingly, the story of this atrocity- one of the worst in world history- continues to be denied by the Japanese government.
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Publisher's Summary

In December 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. Amazingly, the story of this atrocity- one of the worst in world history- continues to be denied by the Japanese government.

The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers who performed it; of the Chinese civilians who endured it; and finally of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. It was Iris Chang who discovered the diaries of the German leader of this rescue effort, John Rabe, whom she calls the "Oskar Schindler of China." A loyal supporter of Adolf Hitler, but far from the terror planned in his Nazi-controlled homeland, he worked tirelessly to save the innocent from slaughter.

Listen to Iris Chang talk about this book on C-SPAN's Booknotes (11/17/97).

©1997 by Iris Chang (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 09-05-09
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 09-05-09 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Powerful"

    I disagree with one of the other reviewers who said that this book was biased. Chang makes a point of saying that this type of atrocity is not limited to the Japanese people and she gives credit to some Japanese officials who wept when they saw what had taken place. She merely points out that this event in history is too often overlooked. While almost everyone knows about the Holocaust, how many can tell the hideous tales of Nanking, Baatan (Tears In The Darkness) or of Pol Pot in Cambodia (To Destroy You Is No Loss)? We must learn from these historical horrors as well, and, most importantly, as Chang says, acknowledge their victims.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    despinne Edgewater, MD, United States 03-15-03
    despinne Edgewater, MD, United States 03-15-03
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    "Well worth your time"

    The story is reviewed very well. This is a formerly untold war story about Japanese atrocities. While this may put you off, the book was very well written and gives you a perspective of China toward Japanese that may continue to this day.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Dallas, OR 09-27-10
    Mike Dallas, OR 09-27-10 Member Since 2015
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    "A Story that needed telling!"

    I've heard the term much of my life. I lived through WWII and never got the details on what the "Rape of Nanking" meant. This was a story I needed to hear. The Japanese culture needs correcting....but only exposes like this will let the current generation know what thier forebears did.......

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith O'Loane 02-01-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Good Book but makes you wonder..."
    Would you listen to The Rape of Nanking again? Why?

    Yes


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The German Doctor, he was a sense of sanity in the insanity


    Any additional comments?

    After listening to this book I wonder why we don't hear more about the Japanese need to apologize for the atrocities they committed. The accounts in this book are quite disturbing, to think the human beings can do these things to other humans just proves that people are not basically good. This is definitely an R rated book because of the descriptions of the horror committed by the soldiers, be very wary of listening in front of kids. If you want a perspective on what the Japanese were like during WWII this will give it to you. If you like history without the rose colored glasses you will like this.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billie Carmel, CA 01-18-12
    Billie Carmel, CA 01-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Critically Important, But Too Much to Stomach"
    What did you like best about The Rape of Nanking? What did you like least?

    The book chronicles such an important part of world history that has mostly been ignored and needs to be told. I was unaware of the horrible events that occurred during the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 until I got this book. The sordid details are so horrendous that you only need to hear them once (if that), but the author retells the most horrific events again and again throughout the book. It was too much and I was unable to finish the book. I didn't need to be hit over the head with the blood and gore, and would have liked to hear a little more elaboration on the events leading up to an entire army turning into psychopaths of the highest order.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard swanseaUnited Kingdom 10-27-09
    Richard swanseaUnited Kingdom 10-27-09 Member Since 2010
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    "very intense and interesting"

    Excellent listening and well worth learning or even knowing about..as to the events..research is an option to the facts for the reader, but whatever side you sit.the message of this story is clear,because today as I type history still repeats itself and always has denial in some quarters as to if it really happened and who was to blame. My daughter has to visit japan with me, and at 17yrs just to face her inbuilt deep hate of this historical event and its people, we all can argue to the end of time. but there are enough empty vessels in this world with self given titles of importance, so as if you need anything done in this world do it yourself,even before our trip my daughter has herself found some japanese at school have become good friends to her, and even they themselfs feared to talk to her at first due to this past event in their history. how sad even we pass our hate and fear of other cultures etc to our children..with the story I actually do not find that something like this could never happen, because we are of this nature all over the world, easy to destroy ..hard to welcome and be inviting to others without some personal gain,and to fear that which we do not know,I believe I experienced a brief window in to it in this book, the actual depth of the events I can not say if accurate 100% or not, still there must be some base to them. it is very well put across with sincerity and passion,and made me feel I was actually there at times so much I could not stop listening to it, I did not expect some of the content to keep popping up in my mind even after 3 years or more, but when thinking about that, shouldnt it be what the reading is about..to stop another Nanking in any form..

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pall 03-21-15
    Pall 03-21-15
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    "Kind of long but Great"

    I heard about what have happened in China during WW II. But didn't know much about it. This book is very informative, well researched, and holds nothing back. A must listen for anybody that wants to know more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 03-13-15
    Tim United States 03-13-15 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

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    "Maybe Worst than the Holocaust"

    A good friend of mine suggested that I should read "The Rape of Nanking." Many times I get great reads from my friends, even though I may not be interested. We all have different taste and different options, but that is what is so great about reading. Between my friends and I, we have read almost all books on the Holocaust, but never on Nanking. I couldn't stop listening to this one.

    It's horrifying as heck what the Japanese soldiers did to the Chinese. I almost lost my lunch when I heard about the raping and torture in Nanking, but I couldn't stop listening.

    Iris Chang drove the subject matter in my brain, wanting me to read more and more. I never heard about Nanking until I bought this book.

    After reading "The Rape of Nanking", I understand why The Bird was so punishing with Louis Zamperini in Unbroken. Laura Hillenbrand never explained why the Japanese was so hard on their POW's. She never gave us an insight of their soldiers. Unbroken was all about Zamperini's life.

    Iris Chang shed some light on the culture and the mindset of the Japanese and the hatred of the Chinese during the massacre.

    As I kept reading, I was cross referencing in my mind between the two books and I understand why Zamperini went through hell in the prison camp. At that time, the Japanese had so much hate for all other races. In a way, Nanking was worst than the Holocaust simply because Adolf Hitler over shadow the world.

    Unlike the Jews, Nanking hasn't been retold from its survivors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil San Francisco, CA, United States 02-15-15
    Neil San Francisco, CA, United States 02-15-15
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    "The Book of Rape and Death"

    This maybe a tough book for most to stomach. The author Iris Chang talks straight and she doesn't hold back. The first chapter alone talks about the number of dead, and then later she goes into graphic details regarding how people died. She doesn't stop at a few stories either. A lot she takes from her own personal experiences as her grandparent lived through it. I agree with the author that the Japanese have not made amends or paid reporation for their actions in Nanking and WW II. Germany has paid about $60 Billion and Japan a minuscule amount. The Japanese in many cases were much worse than any Nazi's actions. It is a tough book to read, but its does need to be known what happened in those seven weeks of pure hell. It is unimaginable how something like this can happen just seventy years ago. It is happening again today in the middle east.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Robulack The Horse, Yukon, Canada 01-23-15
    Andrew Robulack The Horse, Yukon, Canada 01-23-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Shocking Truths"

    It can be difficult to learn harsh realities that we've been raised to ignore. The Rape of Nanking is challenging to understand, but necessary. Well written, well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Stephanie Jane
    a caravan somewhere in Europe
    1/16/15
    Overall
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    "A harrowing listen"

    Although not completely unaware of the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s, I knew very little of the details or the scale of this war. Therefore, when I saw Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking on Audible, I thought the book would help to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. It most certainly does.

    The Rape of Nanking is not a book to be taken lightly and is eight hours listening to despicably savage and brutal inhumanity on a truly incredible scale. Anna Fields does an excellent job of the narration and Chang's research was obviously lengthy and thorough to have uncovered such a wealth of detail. I'm sure so much exposure to this level of horror would have turned her mind, even without the harassment she apparently suffered after her book was published.

    For me, her most frightening findings are that the events at Nanking, while being perhaps on the largest scale the world has ever seen, are by no means an exclusive result of Japanese culture - a frequent argument I've heard about other WW2 Japanese atrocities. Similar crimes are an all too human failing, as is our ability to remain at a distance and watch rather than instinctively leaping in to protect the victims. I was disappointed but unsurprised by the fact of post-war political shenanigans allowing Japan's government to essentially get away with their actions. Such is the power of money and political paranoia.

    I did find it a little odd than the few 'unsung heroes' of Nanking presented by Chang were all white Europeans and Americans. Surely some Chinese must have shown similar bravery? Or perhaps such heroes died before their stories were discovered. I understand that Chang wrote for an American audience, but that gives the book an odd Colonial slant that I found hard to reconcile with her earlier points. Also, I thought the repeated attempts to calculate total numbers were unnecessary and removed me as a listener from the immediacy of the rest of the work. My mind was blown by the initial discussions of between quarter and half a million dead in less than two months. Returning to this numbed me rather than increasing my outrage as presumably was the point.
    The Rape of Nanking is a tricky book to evaluate as its subject matter is so horrific and emotive. That it is also still controversial is a bizarre twist. I appreciate Chang's efforts to spread knowledge and open discussions about Nanking. In this, she certainly achieved her aims. However, this is not the strongest written history and, at times, her inexperience shows through. I am sure by now, nearly 20 years later, other historians have taken up her challenge and further titles are out there. I'm not sure that I will be able to cope with returning to the horror in the near future though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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