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Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Wild Swans (original 1991; edition 2004)

by Jung Chang

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6,186126656 (4.12)1 / 352
Title:Wild Swans
Authors:Jung Chang
Info:Harpercollins Audio (2004), Edition: Abridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

  1. 31
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (ominogue)
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    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Jennie_103)
    Jennie_103: Another story of generations of chinese women.
  3. 00
    Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now by Jan Wong (Nickelini)
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    Anonymous user: A fictional story of three generations of Chinese American women who travel back to China together.

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English (100)  Dutch (9)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All (1)  All (125)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
Provided a great insight to ~1900-1980 era of China. Almost impossible to believe people could behave as described - just madness. Interesting question I have is how might one best anticipate and react to something like the Cultural Revolution where both government position and education were not only not helpful but in fact harmful and where personal associations no matter how tenuous might lead to denunciation, torture, or death. Interesting also to think about how this relates to today's United States with regard to the antiintellectual cultural trends and with regard to the ubiquity of social networks such as facebook and government gathering of phone records and the like. Will my grandchildren be punished because I have the wrong friend on facebook some day? ( )
  bzbooks | Jan 4, 2017 |
3 1/2 stars

This was somewhere between a memoir and an autobiography. It told of the life endured by the author and her family, beginning in the days of the Japanese occupation of China, but mostly the time of Chairman Mao.

I recognized so many names from the news reports of my younger years, but I really had no clear idea of how those names fit into the geo-political picture. Just a vague notion of politicians in China. So I think I am clearer now on who was on which side.

Not the sort of thing I would have wanted to read, but I was under the mistaken impression that it was a novel. The fact that it was shelved with Chinese history books ought to have been a clue.

It was well written, but I don't expect to read it again. Will probably give this book away or donate it to charity. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
Despite the immense praise it received, this didn't strike a chord with me the way most personal stories about Chinese hardships have done. ( )
  datrappert | Oct 18, 2016 |
This is a fascinating history of 20th century China through the lives of three women, Jung Chang, her mother, and her grandmother. Of course it only tells their perspectives, but all are glimpses of China I have never seen so clearly. If I had picked up a history book of this era, I would have probably put it down, too frustrated by the Communist regime to continue. Through this narration, I cared about what happened to Jung Chang's family and the country and couldn't put it down (I listened to the audible version and read when sitting down.).

Briefly, Chang's grandmother, sold as a concubine, lives through the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, the Kuomintang, Mao's takeover of Manchuria, and follows the lives of her daughter and grandchildren. Her mother is raised on Mao's schools and propaganda and rises through the ranks of the Communist system with her husband, later to be renounced in the Cultural Revolution. Chang and her siblings struggle to learn and thrive during the Cultural Revolution, always challenging.

Jung Chang's writing is very straightforward (as is the narration), which is absolutely appropriate for this epic story already so full of extreme events and emotions. Lyricism is not needed and extra description would have made this book too long. Despite the length of this book (562 pages), there was never a sense of it being slow or too long. The narration by Joy Osmanski also generally moved swiftly and clearly (at 1.25 speed). ( )
  Connie-D | Aug 23, 2016 |
Some parts were great. Some not so great. It had it's 5 moments and it's 2 moments. Overall i am glad to have read it but i wish it was shorter.
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
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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
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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