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Publisher's Summary

To the Chinese the dragon is not an evil creature, but is a god and the friend of men who worship him. He "holds in his power prosperity and peace." Ruling the waters and the winds, he sends the good rain, is hence the symbol of fecundity. In the Hsia dynasty two dragons fought a great duel until both disappeared, leaving only a fertile foam from which were born the descendants of the Hsia. Thus, the dragons came to be looked upon as the ancestors of a race of heroes. This is the story of China at War.

©1942 Pearl S. Buck (P)2011 Oasis

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  • Robert
  • GOLDENS BRIDGE, NEW YORK, United States
  • 07-29-13

More Relevant Today than Ever

This book has very much the feeling of The Good Earth (first book of the Good Earth trilogy) but set in the period of World War II. It describes how a family in the countryside deals with the tragedy and upheaval of the Japanese occupation of eastern China. Buck delivers stylized language that perfectly captures the feeling of Chinese speech and culture. For example, when the eldest son finds a Chinese woman rather than a Japanese man in the trap he has set, his first question after he pulls her out is "have you eaten?". This will ring true to anyone who has visited China. Buck is a treasure, perhaps an undervalued treasure. How many American writers grew up in China, living among relatively poor people, speaking as a native, and later writing in English. In spite of winning the Nobel prize, she does not get the recognition she deserves. A style every bit as strong as Hemingway and perhaps more substance and political awareness.

The book is so relevant today, when China is the country that America loves to hate and when Japan is looking at re-interpreting its constitution to allow the development of a military. This book will remind Western readers that China was ravaged by Japan (after having been ravaged by Britain). It was interesting to learn that Japan, like Britain, used opium as a tool to destroy China. A wonderful story and a good performance by the narrator.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Donna
  • Durham, NC, USA
  • 04-01-13

Incredible Story and Performance

Would you consider the audio edition of Dragon Seed to be better than the print version?

I never read the print edition of Dragon Seed.

What did you like best about this story?

Dragon Seed is not just another war story. It is a complex look into the lives of a simple farm family in China during peace time, then as a war approaches, then during and after the struggle. The relationships between the family members and the way they accept their roles in the family and society shocked my western sensibilities. I realized how much I take for granted about being an American in 2013 and how different life could be for me if I lived in a different time and place.

What does Adam Verner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Adam Verner brings sympathy to the story. He sympathetically tailors each character's voice and attitude. He voice is quiet and haunting and lends mystery and foreboding.

If you could take any character from Dragon Seed out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would take Pansiao because she has to put up with so much of what I would call abuse even from people who are supposed to love her.

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful book as are all of Pearl S. Buck's books. I got a little depressed reading this however, so I am going after something more lighthearted next time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great story

Pearl S Buck has never disappointed me. This book is yet another example of her wonderful skill

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Adam Verner is the key to making this book great

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, because Pearl S. Buck is amazing and so is Adam Verner the narrator.

What other book might you compare Dragon Seed to and why?

The Good Earth and Pavilion of Women because they are also Pearl S. Buck books and she does an excellent job of conveying history and personalities and culture to you. Adam Verner also narrates Pavilion of Women and he is just so good to listen to.

What about Adam Verner’s performance did you like?

His is just amazing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I didn't know what this book was going to be about except for an Asian family and the culture, I had a reaction to the war and the takeover and all the hardship this one family endured by the "enemy".<br/>

Any additional comments?

I think Pearl S. Buck is an amazing author and I can't get over how well she wrote back in the 30's and 40's. It's like poetry reading her descriptives of just about everything she writes about from a summer night to someone's face.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • LF
  • 09-20-17

New favorite

A histroical fiction junkie, I read this book years ago then imediatley read the sequel (The Promise) which also did not disappoint. The view from inside the Japanese invasion of Korea evokes hope, fear, empathy, and even disgust in every chapter--even more vividly with narration. Listening to the story was so captivating that I couldn't stop and listened until late at night, finishing in 4 days. Unfortunately, "The Promise" is not available on Audible, and it should be!

  • Overall

Another Classic!

Pearl S. Buck.....you just can't go wrong. I highly recommend this amazing historically correct literary journey.

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  • J
  • 02-05-17

love the simple ways

loved it...Amazing, how people grow up with their "tradition
Love Pearland S. Buck helping me understand Chinese history

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Sorrowful

I liked it but to think of the revolution after the war. Despite their suffering, endurance and the hint of hope at the end if they survive the war they will be just so much grist in Mao's murderous mill.

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Another great read from Pearl S. Buck

I enjoy her style, I enjoy the way she develops the characters, and I loved reading about a family that doesn't match the stereotype of a people that lives strictly by custom without valuing their women as people as is so often is conveyed. Definitely another good one by Pearl S. Buck. I do wish for the audio version the narrator had been someone with a Chinese accent as it would have complimented the storytelling.