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.
At the age of 16, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died, in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.
LuLing Young is now in her 80s, and finally beginning to feel the effects of old age. Trying to hold on to the evaporating past, she begins to write down all that she can remember of her life as a girl in China. Meanwhile, her daughter Ruth, a ghostwriter for authors of self-help books, is losing the ability to speak up for herself in front of the man she lives with. LuLing can only look on, helpless: her prickly relationship with her daughter does not make it easy to discuss such matters.
"a cultural awakener"