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Wild Swans - Jung Chang - Bogormen
So many books, so little time.
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Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Title: Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China
Author: Jung Chang
Genre: Non-fiction, cultural
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 618
Date read: May, 2008


Summary: In Wild Swans Jung Chang recounts the evocative, unsettling, and insistently gripping story of how three generations of women in her family fared in the political maelstrom of China during the 20th century. Chang's grandmother was a warlord's concubine. Her gently raised mother struggled with hardships in the early days of Mao's revolution and rose, like her husband, to a prominent position in the Communist Party before being denounced during the Cultural Revolution. Chang herself marched, worked, and breathed for Mao until doubt crept in over the excesses of his policies and purges. Born just a few decades apart, their lives overlap with the end of the warlords' regime and overthrow of the Japanese occupation, violent struggles between the Kuomintang and the Communists to carve up China, and, most poignant for the author, the vicious cycle of purges orchestrated by Chairman Mao that discredited and crushed millions of people, including her parents.

Review: An absolutely fascinating book. Just like most other people in the Western world I know far too little about the history and culture of China and as such was at the same time totally fascinated and appalled by what I read here. Allegedly Mao caused more deaths than Hitler and Stalin put together, yet hardly any time is spent on him in history classes. I wonder why?

Wild Swans is long and heavy but not at all boring and I'm glad to finally have read it... if for no other reason, then to realize how incredible fortunate I am to live in a country like Denmark. It is a book that is just as important to read as the devastating accounts of World War 2, yet unfortunately more often neglected.

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Comments
From: bookloversdiary Date: May 18th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
My brother recommended this to me awhile ago and I think I was surprised at his recommendation (he tends to recommend more economics-based histories to me), but it sounds fascinating. I'll have to add it to the list.
bogormen From: bogormen Date: May 19th, 2008 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
You should, it's very, very interesting. But be prepared that it's a slow read, because there are so many details.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 15th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that you found it as amazing as I did. I agree with you that it was long and heavy but NOT boring. Those are not easy to find :)
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