Wild Swans

Wild Swans

Three Daughters of China

eBook - 2003
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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.
Publisher: New York :, Touchstone,, 2003
Edition: First Touchstone edition
Description: 1 online resource (562 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations, map
ISBN: 9781439106495

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List - Mothers' Day
camadult May 09, 2018

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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Sep 24, 2020

Eye opener about the life in China since the monarchy. The author beautifully makes us understand what communism is and what it does. It was unputdownble for me.

Jun 06, 2020

Captivating following 3 generations thru beginning of Communism. How EVERYone was watched in the entire nation.

May 11, 2020

The first part of the book is slow and difficult. The author speaks of Grandmother, mother, daughter, grandfather, father, son, stepfather in all mixed up perspectives of the speaker. For someone who does not know english well it will be confusing. The rest of her book is more orderly and clear. After finishing it, I'm left with the visual descriptions of the labor camps beautiful landscapes. She makes you feel like you are right there. Her father is a unique person, very strong and disciplined even when faced with the choice of life or death. I did like the earliest period with her grandmother and the warlord. It's a China we will never see or know. In the end I'm not sure if Chairman Mao was mentally ill, a criminal or just evil.

Mar 27, 2020

Incredible book about the author's family living in China during most of the 1900s. Each generation experienced a lot of suffering and repression. Some parts are very depressing, others show that even in times of extreme hardship there can still be kindness. I recommend that everyone read this book. There's a lot to learn in here about China's recent history.

Jan 27, 2020

"Father is Close, Mother is Close, but Neither Is as Close as Chairman Mao."-Communist slogan
A sweeping, novelistic multi-generational story of life in 20th century China. Jung Chang traces her family history against the backdrop of incredible tumult: the Japanese occupation, the civil war, the Communist Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, and the Cultural Revolution. It puts a human face on history and shows how brutal life was under Mao, whom Chang has also written a book about. I'd also recommend Frank Dikotter's books about China during the Mao era.

Jan 09, 2020

This will be my second time reading this book. I read it after seeing a documentary about it many years ago. It was excellent and very informative read the first time around. Looking forward to reading it again and recommending to my friends!

Dec 06, 2019

An excellent read.

Greta Thunberg “People are underestimating the force of angry kids,” (Mao didn’t)

Aug 23, 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).

Apr 24, 2015

I just read this incredible history of China during the past century. The adjectives of "interesting" and "amazing" are so undeserving of this saga of these women mired in the access to power by Mao, and the horrific abuse of power by this man. It gave me more insight into the lives and history of this country than I've been able to find in any other book. It is a must-read for those who wish to understand China's past.

From turn of the century China through the 1980's Chang traces 3 generations of women. Her grandmother born in 1907 was a concubine as a young girl, her mother was a Communist party member and official, and she was a member of the Red Guards in the
late 1960's. China’s evolution from a feudal society to present day told through the experiences of one family brings to life the incredible hardships and successes that have shaped the country. An informative read for anyone interested in recent Chinese history.

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Dec 06, 2019

“It had been my Communist parents who had given me a liberal upbringing. They had regarded the (cultural) restrictions of women as precisely the sort of thing a Communist revolution should put an end to. But now oppression of women joined hands with political repression, and served resentment and petty jealousy.”

Dec 06, 2019

“The entrance exams I had taken were declared void. Entrance to universities was now to be decided solely by “political behavior.””

Dec 06, 2019

“Compiling detailed files on people’s backgrounds had been a crucial part of the Communists’ system of control even before they came to power.”

Dec 06, 2019

“For years, the things to which I was naturally inclined had been condemned as evils of the West: pretty clothes, flowers, books, entertainment, politeness, gentleness, spontaneity, mercy, kindness, liberty, aversion to cruelty and violence, love instead of “class hatred”, respect for human lives, the desire to be left alone, professional competence…As I sometimes wondered to myself, how could anyone not desire the West.?”

Dec 06, 2019

“The Cultural Revolution had taught me not to divide people by their beliefs, but by whether they were capable of cruelty and viciousness or not.”

Dec 06, 2019


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