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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991)

by Jung Chang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7,909154966 (4.15)1 / 444
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.
Recently added byGeigerLibrary, Arina6000, private library, nlevecchia, RhiannonInc, LaurynJoy
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, Presidential Study (1997)
  1. 20
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Jennie_103)
    Jennie_103: Another story of generations of chinese women.
  2. 31
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (ominogue)
  3. 00
    Eighth Moon: The True Story of a Young Girl's Life in Communist China by Bette Lord (MarthaJeanne)
  4. 00
    Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now by Jan Wong (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Another interesting memoir about a young woman's excitement and then disillusionment at Mao's China.
  5. 00
    Wild Ginger by Anchee Min (mcenroeucsb)
  6. 00
    A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One-Child Policy by Steven W. Mosher (inbedwithbooks)
  7. 00
    A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: A fictional story of three generations of Chinese American women who travel back to China together.

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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 2014 Category Challenge: Wild Swans Group Read24 unread / 24Helenliz, June 2014

» See also 444 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
This is an incredible book, in many places scarcely believable. It covers so much ground, and the pace of change in China during that period is unbelievable. I had read it many years ago and still clearly remembered the early passages on foot-binding. The twists and turns of the Communist Party, the failed policies, the famine, the constant purges are told from a position of relative privilege within the structure, but this only protects the authors family up to a point. I was struck by the madness of things like Mao trying to purge all the grass in China and schools being turned over to collecting metal to melt down. It's a really fascinating book. ( )
  AlisonSakai | May 6, 2022 |
I read the paperback way back in the 1990s and i loved it. I dont remember any details, but I would have given it 5 stars.
  Robloz | Sep 23, 2021 |
If anyone is interested in the political climate of China in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's mostly during Mao's rule, this book is for you. Makes you realize the freedoms we have and how you do not want to be a communist. ( )
  dara85 | Aug 27, 2021 |
Very interesting and nice companion piece to the book I am currently listening to, China-The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. This actually reads more like a novel. ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
Read about half of this some time ago. It was quite interesting, I want to return to it.
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chang, Jungprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.
[Author's Note] My name "Jung" is pronounced "Yung."
[Epilogue] I have made London my home.
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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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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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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