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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jung Chang(Author)

    Book details

The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author.

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. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.

Carolyn See Newsday Wild Swans is riveting. It's blindingly good: a mad adventure story, a fairy tale of courage, and a tale of atrocities. You can't, as they say, put it down.The New Yorker Her family chronicle resembles a popular novel that stars strong, beautiful women and provides cameo roles for famous men....But Wild Swans is no romance. It's a story...about the survival of a Chinese family through a century of disaster.Time A mesmerizing memoir."An inspiring tale of women who survived every kind of hardship, deprivation and political upheaval with their humanity intact." --Hillary Clinton, O, The Oprah Magazine Jung Chang was born in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of York in 1982, the first person from the People’s Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university. She lives in London with her husband, Jon Halliday, with whom she wrote Mao: The Unknown Story.

2.3 (10147)
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Book details

  • PDF | 538 pages
  • Jung Chang(Author)
  • Touchstone; Reprint edition (August 12, 2003)
  • English
  • 9
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By Xujun Eberlein on January 24, 2004

    The first half of this book is well written and quite interesting as a personal memoir; the rest is less engaging, as it became closer to a chronicle than a memoir. Even still, I have mainly admiration and not criticism for the writing; it is the content that concerns me. I am from the same province as the author and also lived through the Cultural Revolution. Westerners might have heard only about the Red Guards, however all Party members, including those who later became victims, were participants in the movement (and other movements before the Cultural Revolution). I can understand why the author chose to portray her parents as purely victims or even heroes against the Revolution -- after all, we Chinese have thousands of years of tradition "avoiding anything that may compromise the name of an intimate." In reality, it was simply impossible for a Party cadre like the author's parents not to be an active participant in the movements, until they themselves become victimized. To me this was the true tragedy for us Chinese. I wish the book had been more honest in this aspect and given a more complete picture to western readers about what happened. I think this honesty would make the book even more valuable.Another thing that bothers me is that the author chose to translate "xuan-chuan-bu" ("the Department of Propaganda") as "the Department of Public Affair". She noted this was "in order to describe their functions accurately". But the former translation is far more accurate, literally and in terms of function. Perhaps this change was made because the author's father was a co-director of such a department in the Communist Party. Such a change seems unnecessary to me.

  • By kaleidoscope on November 19, 2006

    I chose this book from an available three as an assignment for my AP Government class (the other two being River Town by Peter Hessler and Bitter Winds by Harry Wu). I regret every word of its gruelling 505-paged crap.Usually I enjoy memoirs, autobiographies, and non-fiction. However, what I was hoping to find in this telling of the Cultural Revolution had excellent potential but ultimately no elaboration.I believe that in order for a book to be both enjoyable and historical, there must be some sort of emotional input. It is as if Chang is so terrified to express her views that she holds back completely and the reader is left with an incredible load of names, dates, facts, facts, facts, and really boring information that can be summarized in a paragraph out of my high school textbook.Perhaps that's what aggrivated me most - there is SO much information in this book alone that one paragraph could indeed be pulled, an an entire book could be based upon it. Characters could actually have depth, the situation could actually be explained in detail, and MAYBE some conversation could be had!Yes, what this book lacks (among several other things) is decent dialogue. Cliche quotes or proverbs are pulled from time to time, but never do any of the characters in Wild Swans share in any passionate communication - and the book is its consequence. I am receiving no communicative vibe from this author.This book is NOT unique. She deserves not to be worshipped for her accounts, but her mother and grandmother deserve to be congratulated for going through what they did. Jung Chang has simply written some of it down. Poorly. The historical events can be read truthfully via any wikipedia reference, and more emotion is drawn from a debate session in my government class (involving my protest of this book as a whole).Unfortunately, this book has turned me away from learning about China though I do hope perhaps to read something a bit more insightful. For now, I'll stick with Frank McCourt and his mastery of the modern memoir.

  • By William Podmore on June 28, 2012

    Jung Chang was the privileged daughter of China's communist elite. Her father was a Grade 10 official. She grew up in a protected, walled household with a wet-nurse, a nanny, a maid, a gardener and a chauffeur, all provided by the government. She was educated in a special school for officials' children. After being sent to the countryside, she was able to leave just a few weeks later. She then became a student at university and got a generous Chinese government scholarship to study in the UK. All this happened during the Cultural Revolution, years before her father was officially rehabilitated.

  • By Sou Shiko on March 16, 2007

    I am the kind of person who cannot stand sustained negativity, so I never finished reading this book. I really think the author is a talented and smart person, and from what I hear from my parents I also think what she is telling is mostly true. But I feel sorry for her for what she must have suffered from her selfishness and her own negative view of everything around her. I used to be like that many many years ago and I know how it hurts. Anything has both good side and bad side. I think it's more healthy to remember what good things happened rather than how terrible things were which nobody can do anything about.This book could be much better if the author had more sense of humor and described everything in a lighter tone.

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