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Woman Who Could Not Forget, The: Iris Chang…

Woman Who Could Not Forget, The: Iris Chang Before and Beyond "The Rape of…

by Ying-Ying Chang (Author), Richard Rhodes (Introduction), Ignatius Y. Ding (Foreword)

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535221,808 (3.89)18
Title:Woman Who Could Not Forget, The: Iris Chang Before and Beyond "The Rape of Nanking"
Authors:Ying-Ying Chang (Author)
Other authors:Richard Rhodes (Introduction), Ignatius Y. Ding (Foreword)
Info:NY: Pegasus Books (2011/05), First Edition, Kirst Printing, Hardcover, 428 pp.
Collections:Your library

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The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking- A Memoir by Ying-Ying Chang



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The suicide of Iris Chang was a great shock and loss. Having written a master piece early in her life, she pushed herself too hard and was overwhelmed by the pressure of success. Exhausted and depressed because she tried to tackle too many projects of being a spokeswoman for Chinese-Americans (viciously attacked by nationalistic Japanese), a researcher of her next bestseller, a mother of an autistic child, a wife and daughter. Her burn-out sent her into the abyss of the American health care system which probably killed her by overdosing her with happy pills and under-providing her with psychological help. Her medical problems sent her back under the control of her demanding Tiger Mom who tried to micro-manage her life. Unfortunately, there was no catcher in the rye who kept her from jumping off the cliff.

This is her mother's account of her life. On the positive side, this offers a first hand access to her life story and presents stellar Chang's achievements. The closeness and involvement naturally does not allow a critical (but ultimately futile) assessment. What might have saved Iris Chang was a friend to fend off the maelstrom of demands on her and nurture her to recovery. A sad story. ( )
  jcbrunner | May 31, 2013 |
Written by Chang's mother, this is an honest, straightforward account of the author's life and work, and suicide in 2004. The memoir is informative but not terribly insightful. It's interesting to compare this it with Finding Iris Chang written by a friend of Chang, a book which Ying-Ying Chang does not name in her account but alludes to as an inaccurate account of her daughter's mental illness. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
To correct the "review" that is actually a mini-biography:

Iris Chang's first book was "Thread of the Silkworm," about the father of the Republic of China's missile program, her second was "The Rape of Nanking," which so thoroughly documented that horrific history that it has letter and diary entries by Japanese soldiers who participated in the holocaust, interviews with Japanese veterans who admit and describe their actions, contemporary Japanese newspaper accounts reporting it and of "heroes" among the perpetrators, and photographs from a film of atrocities as they were happening. She subsequently wrote "The Chinese in America".

At the time of her death, she was researching and interviewing survivors of the Bataan Death March for her fourth book.

This book is a moving memoir by her mother, Ying-Ying Chang. She, as do others, view the "cause" of her death as one or another single cause. Iris Chang was a complicated person, and there were more likely more than one cause; manic depression is cited, but from the descriptions by her mother, she was suffering from PTSD as result of her profound immersion in her research for and work on "The Rape of Nanking," which she personalized.

Ying-Ying Chang and her husband, who in film interviews are gracious and unassuming, came to the US from China, and were graduated from Harvard as Ph.D. scientists. English is understandably her second language, but she does a fine job in telling the reader about her beloved daughter.

For some years I've been alerting others to Iris Chang and her work, and that she is a woman not to be forgot. She is a loss not only to her family but also to the world as a journalist and historian who was transformed by her subject matter into a human rights activist.

This memoir, like Iris's work, should appeal to those interested in biography, in WWII in the Pacific theater, the history of China, cultural studies, of both Chinese and Chinese-Americans, and those interested in Asian history in general. ( )
  JNagarya | Jan 12, 2013 |
Early in the book, you learn that the mother's daughter, Iris Chang committed suicide. This is the mother's story of her daughter and the explanation of the depression in the last days of her life and the effects of the drugs for depression that Iris took. The rest of the book is the story of a bright girl, gifted, incredibly energetic who wrote The Rape of Nanking, the story of the Japanese atrocities against the people of Nanking, China. Although Iris did not grow up in that society, her parents were Chinese and Iris spoke Chinese. Iris won a great deal of support for her book, but also faced the Japanese critics who said that these events never happened. On the book tour Iris talked to many people who had stories to tell of relatives who had experienced the events. Iris married, and had a child, but much of the time she was traveling as part of her book tour and writing a second book. Her child was the result of a surrogate pregnancy. Less than a year from her death, she became depressed, saw a Dr. and began taking depressents, and then shot herself. Before her parents retired, they were scientists at U of Ilinois and busy with their scientific work and teaching. ( )
1 vote Dottiehaase | Jan 13, 2012 |
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"Iris Chang's best-selling book The Rape of Nanking forever changed the way we view the Second World War in Asia. It all began with a photo of a river choked with the bodies of hundreds of Chinese civilians that shook Iris to her core. Who were these people? Why had this happened and how could their story have been lost to history? She could not shake that image from her head. She could not forget what she had seen. A few short years later, Chang revealed this 'second Holocaust' to the world. But who was this woman that single-handedly swept away years of silence, secrecy and shame? Her mother, Ying-Ying, provides an enlightened and nuanced look at her daughter, from Iris' home-made childhood newspaper, to her early years as a journalist and later, as a promising young historian, her struggles with her son's autism and her tragic suicide"--Dust jacket.… (more)

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