Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China 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 Than Ten Million Copies Sold Around The World, Now With A New Introduction From The AuthorAn 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

Jung Chang simplified Chinese traditional Chinese pinyin Zh ng R ng Wade Giles Chang Jung, born March 25, 1952 in Yibin, Sichuan is a Chinese born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in mainland China.See also

[Ebook] ➩ Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China By Jung Chang – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 562 pages
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
  • Jung Chang
  • English
  • 14 September 2019
  • 9780743246989

10 thoughts on “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

  1. says:

    Wild Swans may well be the most depressing book I ve ever read Don t let that keep you from giving it a try, though, for by some strange mechanism, it also ranks among the most uplifting books I ve read, chronicling as it does a courage, resilience and will to survive which are nothing short of riveting I could sum the book up by saying it s the greatest ode to courage and resilience ever written, or that it s one of those rare books which make you despair of humanity and then go a long way towards restoring your faith in it, but no, I m not going to leave it at that I m going to do this book justice, because damn it, it deserves it.For those of you who missed the hype back in the early 1990s, Wild Swans is the true history of three generations of women living through the horrible nightmare that is modern Chinese history One is the author herself, now a naturalised British citizen The second is her mother, an earnest Communist who raised a large family at a time which was extremely bad for family life The third is her grandmother, who was married off as a concubine to a warlord as a girl and lived to see her family suffer for this unfortunate connection again and again Using these three extraordinary lives as her main focus, Jung Chang tells the history of China s even extraordinary twentieth century, from the late Qing Dynasty in the first decade of the century to the relatively free 1980s, a period comprising the Republican era, the battle between the Kwomintang and the Communists, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution It s gripping stuff even for those who know their Chinese history, and it blew me away when I first read it halfway through my Chinese degree, making me wonder for the first time but not the last whether I really wanted to devote the rest of my life to China It took me two years to decide that I did not, but this book, whose memory has always stayed with me, played a large part in that decision To this day, I vividly remember the horror I experienced when I read the long section about the Cultural Revolution It brought alive the terror of that particular episode of Chinese history better than any other book I d read, and it shocked me to my core While Wild Swans is largely about the three women mentioned above, the most interesting person in the book I hesitate to call him a character as he was obviously a very real person is the author s father, a high ranking cadre who genuinely believed in the Communist ideals and strove all his life to implement them in daily life At first, he is infuriating in his refusal to grant his wife and children the privileges to which they are entitled as his relatives on the grounds that to do so would amount to nepotism and corruption, which is precisely what the Communists are supposed to be trying to eradicate , but as the story progresses, you realise that there is something quite heroic about Mr Chang that he is, in his daughter s words, a moral man living in a land that is a moral void By the time the Cultural Revolution rolls around the corner, you feel such admiration for him that you d personally drag him away from the humiliations and beatings he receives for sticking to his guns if you could, to prevent him having to experience that loss of faith and dreams which is bound to follow His is a tragedy with a capital T, and it s harrowing one of the most painful things I ve read, and then some.Yet for all the personal struggles described in the book and there are many of them , the main struggling character of Wild Swans is China itself Chang does a great job chronicling what J.G Ballard called the brain death of a nation , sharing historical facts in a way non sinologists will understand and showing the cruelty and mercilessness inherent in the Chinese or should that be humanity in general She does a marvellous job describing the panic and unpredictability of the early Cultural Revolution, when absolutely everybody could be denounced at the drop of a hat, and when pettiness and lust for power reigned Along the road, she provides fascinating insights into Mao Zedong s selfishness and megalomania, and into the hypocrisy and incongruity of the movements he set in motion, which brutalised human relationships like nothing else ever has And all these atrocities she juxtaposes with the integrity and courage of her parents and grandmother, who get through it all with some hope and optimism left intact It s a riveting story, and Chang tells it well.If I have any complaints about Wild Swans, they concern the first few chapters and the romanisation of names The early parts of the book, which deal with events the author did not witness herself, feel a bit aloof and lifeless It gets better once Chang starts telling about her parents, and once she reaches the part of the story to which she herself was privy the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution , the book becomes quite unputdownable As for the romanisation, I wish the publisher had hired an editor skilled in Pinyin, as Chang s spelling of Chinese names is all over the place something non sinologists won t notice, but which is an eyesore to me These are minor flaws, though, which hardly detract from the overall quality of the book Wild Swans is an intensely compelling read moving, unsettling and unforgettable It should be compulsory reading for everyone remotely interested in China, or in history in general.

  2. says:

    . 600 527 ..

  3. says:

    At first I did not want to voice my opinion of this book since it cut so near to the bone and was such a profound shock to read in 1993 It was, however, the first book, after reading Isabelle Allende, that kept me awake for several weeks afterwards No other book ever managed to achieve that.It certainly is a depressing book, no beating around the bush about that, but also such a courageous introduction to a life of people shut away behind the veil of communism My overall impression of the book was that it must have been equally painful for the author to write it as it was for her family, three generations of women, to endure the horrific takeover of Mao Tse Tung in China As with all Communist rhetoric, so many noble promises were made to people, freedom of oppression being the biggest, and innocent poor people believed enough in the idea to die for it Those who did not want to accept it, were killed as well in their millions.However, people such as Jung s father, who staunchly believed that it would bring change for the good, staggered back in horror when the first real implications of Communism hit their lives Freedom was the first privilege to be revoked on all levels of human existence All intellectuals against the revolution were either interned or killed They all lost their jobs and their standing and their respect in society were publicly destroyed They were declared enemies of the state.The equalization of society also did not happen seamlessly and the population would soon find out what it really entailed The educational and health systems crashed completely Expropriation of land was part of the plan Landowners were brutally murdered, land grabbing became the order of the day Land redistribution soon led to the most staggering overgrazing and erosion of fertile land over millions of hectares Large parts of China became an instant man made desert Poverty and famine increased substantially and exponentially Thirty million people died of hunger alone, which was a well kept secret for almost forty years.Jung Chang writes on p166

    Although the Communists were apposed to torture in theory and on principle, officials were told that they should not intervene if the peasant wished to vent their anger in passionate acts of revenge against the farm owners People such as Jin were not just wealthy owners of land, but had wielded absolute and arbituary power, which they indulged in willfully, over the lives of the local population They were called e ba ferocious despots.In some areas the killing extended to ordinary landlords, who were called stones obstacles to the revolution Policy towards the stones was When in doubt, kill My father thought this was wrong and told his subordinates and public meetings, that only those who, unquestionably had blood on their hands should be sentenced to death In his reports to his superiors he repeatedly said that the Party should be careful with human lives, and that excessive executions would only harm the revolution It was partly because many people like my father spoke up that in February 1948 the Communist leadership issued urgent instructions to stop the violent excesses.

    The necklaces burning tires around an enemy of the revolution s neck , was rampantly used to kill very often innocent people If someone had a personal grudge against the victim, the latter was declared anti revolutionary and killed after street courts were held It was a method designed and used by Stalin a few decades earlier in Russia, and part of the Communist modus operandi to establish their complete control The narrative describes how an entire nation was terrorized, traumatized and intimidated into submission by various methods Everybody living in a free country should read this book The only way to understand real freedom is to get to know life when it is taken away and almost always by the very same people who used the idea to win them over to a new dispensation Although it was an exhausting book to read, it opened the dark, horrible side of the so called freedom fighters and communism to the world It is written in such a way that the history lesson flows easily along the narrative, which was compelling You need time for this book, and lots of courage However, it was beautifully written One of the best books I have ever read This book changed my life and my choice of books completely Listen to this Podcast with the author about this book.

  4. says:

    2013 R education La R volution Culturelle 1984

  5. says:

    1984 ,, 1 2 3 4 5.

  6. says:

    Cisnes salvajes es el relato de la juventud de la autora, la historia de su madre y de su abuela, mujeres incre blemente valientes que tuvieron que pasar por el infierno de nacer en la China del siglo XX.Creo que es uno de esos libros con los que es imposible no enfurecerse o llorar de rabia y tristeza por la crueldad e idiotez del ser humano Por suerte el libro tambi n est lleno de personas maravillosas.No dejo de darle vueltas al hecho de que a n hoy la Historia de China y la dictadura de Mao siguen siendo grandes desconocidas y olvidadas por Occidente Siempre que alguien piensa en el gran villano se acuerda de Hitler o Stalin pero todos olvidamos a Mao su Revoluci n Cultural es una de las cosas m s aterradoras que he le do en toda mi vida Y s , Cisnes salvajes es un libro denso al que hay que dedicarle su tiempo pero cada minuto de su lectura merece la pena Aunque siempre me ha interesado la Historia de China, leer este libro me ha hecho comprender much simas cosas de ese enorme pa s y su cultura, y en fin, no puedo m s que recomendarlo.Y la resaca, se ores, la resaca va a ser pica.

  7. says:

    How far could Chinese patriarchy go in the early twentieth century to make the lives of women sheer humiliation and misery Here in Wild Swans we have that question tidily answered This is a tale of the lives of three generations of Chinese women the author, her mother and her grandmother Author Jung Chang s grandmother had her feet bound a hideously painful process undertaken solely so that some man might one day find her lustworthy enough to take as a concubine The years long process of foot binding of smashing the toes with a rock and binding them under the sole of the foot is thoroughly explained Author Chang s grandmother was thus encrippled and eventually traded off to a general of one of the factions vying for control of the country in 1920 All this so her wretch of a great grandfather Yang could raise his own material status, buy land and accumulate concubines I have read of stories purdah, the seraglio and Morman four wiving, but never have I come across such a harrowing description of the degradation of women that I have found here Mind numbing are the cruel stratagems of the concubines back at the family home to degrade Yang s first wife Chang s great grandmother and freeze her out of her own home I was aware of this social structure before through works by the writers Jonathan Spence, Anchee Min, Nien Cheng, Harry Wu and others, but never have I had such a vivid picture of how the first wife concubine pecking order played out in the daily life of a Chinese family as I ve had here It is beyond belief Then in 1930, released from her bond of concubinage on the death of the general, the grandmother whose name Yu fang translates as jade fragrant flowers falls in love with a Manchu doctor, who is determined to marry her as his wife This sends his large family into conniptions since it means Jade will have to be accorded reverence in line with the doctor s strict Manchu standards of filial respect And at 65 he is almost three times her age Perhaps if it weren t for his wealth there would be less of a fuss, but a new wife has implications for the eventual distribution of his estate s assets In protest one of his sons shoots himself dead This act of greed for the family is worried only about its own dispossession, nothing drives Dr Xia to divide his possessions among his sons and move to a shack on the outskirts of Jinzhou which is a cholera epidemic waiting to happen Yet there, he and Jade and the author s mother find some happiness despite the fact that the doctor is penniless and must start at the bottom And all of the above in the book s first 44 pages Next we learn of the horrors committed during the Second Sino Japanese War the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, in which Jinzhou is located Dr Mrs Xia are able to save a friend from the Japanese by befriending the prison garroter, Dong, who promises them not to strangle the man fatally, only partially, so he ll look dead enough to be transported to the foul smelling communal grave at the end of town There, the Xias extract him from a tangle of bodies he s still breathing take him home and nurse him back to health This man, Han Chen, later goes to work for Kuomintang intelligence where he procures a membership ID for Mrs Xia s son which allows him to avoid military service and keep working in the doctor s medicine shop where he s most needed He even gets Dong a job After the war there were so many saved by Dong from the Japanese reaper in this way that survivors pooled their monies and bought the former executioner a little house for his retirement Heroism takes strange forms.The Japanese were defeated in 1945 and the second and concluding portion of the Chinese Civil War resumed The author s mother now turns out to be this capable community organizer on the Communist side She distributes propaganda The Nationalist bigwigs are seen as corrupt and lacking discipline The Communists were promising the populace things they would never deliver on, such as the retention of personal property In Jinzhou, the author says, the Communists were perceived as innovators who would make the lives of the people better Another sneaky thing the Communists did, while the Nationalists were busy fighting the Japanese, they intensified their propaganda and brought the people over to their side Anyway, as you may know, neither side comes out smelling like a rose.Need to finish

  8. says:

    Wild Swans presents the story of three generations in the life of the author s family, which covers most of the 20th century, as well as the amazing social, political and economic changes occurring in China as a whole We move from the portrait of a concubine with bound feet to a woman who worked alongside her Communist Party husband to bring Party ideals to fruition, then on to the granddaughter who is among the first of her generation to be allowed to leave the country to study.Along the way, there are the classics of any family story,love and hate, birth and death, marriage with unimaginable struggles, and gradual worsening of life on a regular basis The details should be read Most of us who grew up in the 50s and 60s have some memory of hardships in China We really didn t know and it is important to know about the history of China, from pre Communist times to the present as it explains so much.Highly recommended as a big step in education about China in the 20th century through a personal history.Addendum I plan to read the introduction to the 2003 edition as I ve heard it adds some valuable insights to the intro and epilogue available in the original 1991 edition I own.

  9. says:

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