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Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Wild Swans (original 1991; edition 2004)

by Jung Chang

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6,069119683 (4.13)1 / 339
Title:Wild Swans
Authors:Jung Chang
Info:Harpercollins Audio (2004), Edition: Abridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library

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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (1991)

Recently added byeefa, ingegerlo, ehongsp, private library, amcheri, Thamani, ksij627, Gary_Power
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English (94)  Dutch (9)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (118)
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An epic and a history lesson about China. ( )
  Gary_Power | Jul 10, 2016 |
Review: Wild Swans by Jung Chang. An amazing story of three generation of women living in the twentieth-century China at the time of Mao’s troubled impact control to the people of China. It’s a story about the survival of a Chinese family through a century of disaster.

Jung Chang relates and describes the life of her grandmother, a General officer’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her life experience growing up with parents who were members of the Communist elite and their radical ordeal during the Cultural Revolutions.

As the story develops you read through the one generation of the communist life and end where Jung Chang tells her story about becoming a Red Guard at the age of fourteen she then worked as a peasant, a barefoot doctor, a steelworker and an electrician. When you get to the end of the book you realize all three women lived the same life in different manners but under the same control of Mao.

It was a detailed account of captivating emotional cycles of violent drama transcending on her family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.

I can’t see how people can live under such scrutiny for so many years without taking some kind of control of their lives. I can say this….. because I didn’t live there. I don’t believe even though China has changed leadership that I would choose it as a place just to visit. It was an interesting book to read and I would recommend readers to choose this as a book of great material.
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China- Jung Chang
3 stars

Jung Chang begins with her grandmother’s story; her foot binding, her life as the neglected concubine of a warlord and her eventual marriage to a respected Confucian physician. Jung continues with her mother’s childhood and adolescence during the Japanese occupation and her mother’s eventual participation in the communist uprising. Jung Chang’s own childhood is the story life in China under Mao. The story of this family is truly amazing. The eye witness accounts that Jung Chang has recorded make the stark facts of history become alive and personal. But, despite the dramatic events that are related in this personal history, the book takes on the tedium that I find is true of many memoirs.There is a kind of sequential sing-song; ‘first this happened and then this occurred’. I learned a great deal about China in the 20th century, but at 720 pages this book would have benefited from some strategic editing. ( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
N.F. True
daughters of China — excelled @ Cultural Rev. — Mao - till today

An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution.
  christinejoseph | Mar 22, 2016 |
A fascinating story that taught me much about China. But the book could use some editing. When a second book club chose to read it a couple of years later, I opted NOT to re-read it. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jung Changprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castelli Gair, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castelli-Gair Hombría, GianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chu-tanCover artistsecondary 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
First words
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.
Haiku summary

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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