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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung…

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991)

by Jung Chang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,563135578 (4.13)1 / 382
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English (108)  Dutch (9)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All (1)  All (134)
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This is Chang's memoir/biography of her life and those of her mother and grandmother. Her grandmother had been a Manchurian concubine (and had bound feet) before the Kuomintang came to power. She then lived to see the Communists and Mao take over. Her mother, daughter of a warlord and accepted daughter of a doctor, lived most of her adult life under Mao, and was moved to Chengdu. Originally a minor official married to another minor official, they were then declared "capitalist roaders" and dealt with denunciations, beatings, etc, as part of Mao's constant upheavals to keep the populace infighting for power and food.

This book is quite terrifying and very frustrating and infuriating. What kind of leader starves his own populace in the name of building up industry? Or who deems education a bourgeois desire, wanting their populace to be illiterate and uneducated (yet expects to grow their industrial output?). Some of the language, though, is very MAGA-ish. Frightening. ( )
  Dreesie | Mar 29, 2018 |
This is the kind of book that makes me want to learn more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
This biographical book follows three generations of women in one Chinese family, from feet binding to communism and beyond. In some ways it was very painful to read (and it is very long), but I could never put it down for very long. I learned so much from this book.

Any book that teaches me, changes my perception, astonishes me, and sticks with me the way this one did deserves five stars. ( )
  Janellreads | Oct 18, 2017 |
Overall I liked this book. I was interesting learning about China in those times of upheaval through the personal history of three women in one family.
From time to time it was also very depressing and hopeless, but that's something I expected, it is a consequence of the subject.
I'm glad that one of the subjects of my grammar school exam for history was China's history, roughly from the 1940's to 1975-ish. And that period was exstensively described here. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Aug 6, 2017 |
Painful to read. Like Martial Law times ten thousand. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jung Changprimary authorall editionscalculated
Castelli Gair, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castelli-Gair Hombría, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chu-tanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gair, Gian CastelliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hout, Bert Willem van derCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Syrier, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my grandmother and my father who did not live to see this book
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At the age of fifteen my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general, the police chief of a tenuous national government of China.
With luck, one could fall in love after getting married
They had been brought up in the fanatical personality cult of Mao and the militant doctrine of "class struggle".  They were endowed with the qualities of youth - they were rebellious, fearless, eager to fight for a "just cause", thirsty for adventure and action.  They were also irresponsible, ignorant and easy to manipulate - and prone to violence.
When I came home that afternoon, I found my father in the kitchen. He had lit a fire in the big cement sink, and was hurling his books into the flames.
This was the first time in my life I had seen him weeping. It was agonized, broken, and wild, the weeping of a man who was not used to shedding tears. Every now and then, in fits of violent sobs, he stamped his feet on the floor and banged his head against the wall.
... My father had spent every spare penny on his books. They were his life. After the bonfire, I could tell that something had happened to his mind.
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Book description
Alleen schrijvers met een uitzonderlijk talent lukt het om grote historische gebeurtenissen zo te beschrijven dat de lezer diep geëmotioneerd raakt. Een schrijver moet ook over veel overtuigings- en verbeeldingskracht beschikken om de lezer deelgenoot te maken van de gevoelens die de personages beheersen. Over dat talent beschikt de Chinese schrijfster Jung Chang. In Wilde zwanen, drie dochters van China vertelt zij de buitengewone levensgeschiedenis van haar grootmoeder, concubine van een generaal in het feodale China; en ten slotte het indrukwekkende verhaal hoe zij zelf als jong meisje in China opgroeide. Wilde zwanen geeft een panoramische visie van drie vrouwen op een complexe samenleving in de vorm van intieme memoires, prachtige portretten en verteld als een meeslepende kroniek van het twintigste-eeuwse China. En ondanks de haast onvoorstelbare gruwelen die de familie van Jung Chang ten deel zijn gevallen en die door de auteur op bijna onderkoelde manier worden beschreven, is Wilde zwanen een indrukwekkende getuigenis van optimistisch geloof in een rechtvaardige samenleving met gelijke rechten en gelijke kansen voor ieder individu.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743246985, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A Chinese woman chronicles the struggle of her grandmother, her mother, and herself to survive in a China torn apart by wars, invasions, revolution, and continuing upheaval, from 1907 to the present.

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