Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China Review

Information At A Glance
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is a book in the History genre written by Jung Chang. The book was published by Touchstone on 2003-08-05 and contains 538 pages. The book has an ISBN number of 978-0743246989. Our users found the overall impression of this book to be Educational.

Overall Book Ratings

Plot/Execution 10.0
Structure 9.0
Writing Style 8.0
Enjoyability 9.0
Overall 10.0
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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is banned in author Jung Chang’s home country—China. It's explosive.


User Ratings

Plot/Execution 10
Structure 9
Writing Style 8
Enjoyability 9
Overall 10
Impression: Educational

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WILD SWANS: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

There is no thrill like reading a banned book. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is banned in author Jung Chang’s home country—China. Ten million published copies in thirty languages; it is considered a threat by the Chinese government.

No wonder. Wild Swans is more than a personal story of three generations of Chang’s family. It is an accurate tale of China’s twentieth century life. Written in a style that compels the reader to continue through over six hundred pages, it weaves personal strength and endurance into a political tapestry of cruelty and turbulence. It exposes a history that China denies.

Chang presents an in-depth look at China from her grandmother’s birth in 1909 into a life as a warlord’s concubine . The oral history is set in a carefully researched history that has been hidden from the world. Through the lives of the three women, China is vaulted through warlords, the Japanese occupation, the western backed Kuomintang and the increasing the Communist terror of Mao Zedong. Within the turbulence of this lost country, the women lived plain lives. They starved during opulence, saved revolutionaries, and found the peace in mud huts.

Not since Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth has the outside world seen the daily life in China revealed in such a riveting manner. As the reader looks for a pause to place a bookmark, the story continues without pause with harrowing events relieved by calms that suddenly rise up onto crashing waves of drama. How will mother save daughter, how will daughter evade torture, is there escape, keeps the pages turning long past nightfall and into the early dawn. What happens to the daughter sold for ten kilos of rice? Why did Mao orchestrate the great Famine? Will they survive? Answers lead to new questions.

Even readers that are not scholars or even history buffs can lose themselves in this tale. It is impossible not to cry or feel the joy and despair, or well up in triumph as the women adjust to live with dignity and hope. The grandmother finds joy in letting her daughter’s feet grow unencumbered by binding even as her own feet cripple her. The mother chooses Communism to attain the education women never had before. She relishes the knowledge that was denied to women for so long, and savors it like chocolate. The author anguishes that the Communist party that she supports with her entire soul has tortured her parents until their minds are broken. Her determination, like that of her mother and grandmother, is to make a valuable life .

Wild Swans has two faces. It is the face of the history of a country we know little about. It is also the face of mothers and daughters persevering and enduring; claiming personal power despite all barriers. This is a critical read for all persons seeking understanding of the Chinese culture and for all readers that have mothers and grandmothers.


Review Posted By cfekete On 2013-06-15 At 20:03:23

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