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The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (1997)

by Iris Chang

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3,014713,887 (4.11)1 / 161
Details the massacre that took place in December 1937 when the Japanese army overthrew the ancient city of Nanking, China, and raped, tortured, and murdered over 300,000 civilians; examining the atrocity from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers, the Chinese civilians, and the Europeans and Americans who created a safety zone for survivors.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Horrific account of a massacre in Nanking (Nanjing), China, by Japanese soldiers in Dec. 1937, before Pearl Harbor. The author did a real service to bring this neglected account back to light. She probably has made an unbalanced history (she was emotionally involved because of her family's stories and her oral interviews with survivors) but it is still worthwhile reading if you can stomach the atrocities mentioned. I just found out about some other books on the topic that might be valuable too for a more rounded view.

Makes me want to learn more about the mind-set of the Japanese that could result in this kind of thing. Will they ever apologize to China ? ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
In December of 1937, Japanese soldiers entered the Chinese City of Nanking, and though outnumbered by the Chinese soldiers there, took the city and, within a few weeks, massacred approximately 300,000 of its citizens and people seeking shelter there from the surrounding countryside. The brutality of the grisly attack is almost beyond comprehension. Worst of all, Japan continues to this day to deny and/or downplay this horrific "rape." Unlike Germany, which has spent billions of dollars in reparations, pensions, and other forms of repayment for the attempted genocide of Jews, Japan has made none at all.
P.222: "The Japanese government has taken the position that all wartime reparation issues were resolved by the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty. A close reading of the treaty, however, reveals that the issue was merely postponed until Japan was in a better financial situation. 'It is recognized that Japan should pay reparations to the allied Powers,' the Treaty states in chapter 5, article 14. 'Nevertheless it is also recognized that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient, if it is to maintain a viable economy, to make complete reparations for all such damage and suffering and at the same time meet its other obligations.'
You and I know that today, Japan is doing very well economically, yet it seems that Japan decided to leave things right there and go whistling down the road.

P.55: "Looking back upon millennia of history, it appears clear that no race or culture has a monopoly on wartime cruelty. The veneer of civilization seems to be exceedingly thin - one that can be easily Stripped away, especially by the stresses of war. . . Here is what we learn: The Japanese soldier was not simply hardened for battle in China; he was hardened for the task of murdering Chinese combatants and non-combatants alike. Indeed, various games and exercises were set up by the Japanese military to numb its men to the human instinct against killing people who are not attacking.
For example, on their way to the Capitol, Japanese soldiers were made to participate in killing competitions, which were avidly covered by the Japanese media like sporting events."

Iris Chang researched this book exhaustively, covering the viewpoint of the world, the Japanese, the victims, and the international community that lived in Nanking at the time, who did everything in their power to save the victims of this massacre. Chang wrote this book in what I see as a labor of love, bringing awareness of this muted part of history to the world. Sadly, she took her own life in 2004, not, as some believe, from the effects of research on her book, but of a combination of events/difficulties in her life, complicated with mental illness. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Fascinating history about the Massacre of Nanking. I was glued to it and could scarcely put it down. However it is not for the faint hearted. Parts are gruesome and generate images that will stay with you for a very long time. Many times I had to take a deep breath and compose myself to continue reading. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that wants an introduction to the war history of Nanking. ( )
  thewestwing | Aug 12, 2022 |
It’s very rare for me to devour a book. But this book really just amazed me.

This book was an eye opener. I knew about the rape of Nanking but I had no idea how bad it truly was. I had no idea how the Japanese government likes to pretend it wasn’t that serious. The stories from Chinese survivors and those who were trying to save them were just jaw dropping. ( )
  Koralis | Jul 12, 2022 |
Reason Read: I read this because it is written by a Chinese woman, Iris Chang, but Iris was born in the US. She researched this because of wanting to know more about her family. Her parents did move to US from China. Other reason to read including ROOT, has been on my shelf for awhile.

While this was a hard book to read it was even more so when I read of Iris Chang’s death. She died so young, depressed and suicidal.

I knew a little about the Sino-Chinese war, actually from reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicles written by a Japanese author and also from studying history with my granddaughter. This expands on the incident. this book also confirms my rapidly growing feeling that you can never trust history written by and for public education because politics dictate what is being thought and not truth. And this does not matter whether your Chinese, Japanese, or US citizen. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 2, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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To the hundreds of thousands of victims in the Rape of Nanking.
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On December 13, 1937, Nanking, the capital city of Nationalist China, fell to the Japanese
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Details the massacre that took place in December 1937 when the Japanese army overthrew the ancient city of Nanking, China, and raped, tortured, and murdered over 300,000 civilians; examining the atrocity from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers, the Chinese civilians, and the Europeans and Americans who created a safety zone for survivors.

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