Wild Swans Three Daughters of China Characters ò 102

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Wild Swans Three Daughters of China Characters ò 102 ß 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 authThe 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 exp. 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 thatIt 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 eually 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 millionsHowever 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 stateThe eualization 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 yearsJung 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 revengeagainst 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 despotsIn 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 unuestionably 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 necklacesburning 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 readThis book changed my life and my choice of books completelyListen to this Podcast with the author about this book

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Ution 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. If you read only one book about twentieth century China let this be the one A mish mash of personal memoir family saga history feminist literature and global and Chinese politics Wild Swans Three Daughters of China covers it all vividly The book covers the life of Jung Chang's grandmother her mother and herself over the course of a China that was constantly changing in response to the changing times and the challenges it was facingChang starts off with her grandmother's story a concubine to a feudal lord she managed to escape to freedom with her daughter Chang's mother who in turn became a rebel and supported the communists Chang herself appears to be the least rebellious of these three women but that doesn't detract from her strength in facing the daily challenges of living in Communist China under Madman MaoOne of the most interesting things I found about this book was how it seamlessly depicted the enormous changes that took place in within a hundred years While the grandmother was fully immersed in traditional ways and superstitions this gradually changed over the years Another thing I really loved about this book is how Chang kept challenging the practice of Maoism by demanding why the status of women had not changed and why they were still subject to the old ideas and customs despite the communist revolution I loved how Chang managed to put her finger on the right places and ask the right uestionsWhile this book is a memoir of one single family Chang makes the attempt to weave in the broader political and historical issues of the times wherever appropriate This gives Wild Swans a much broader scope than most memoirs and provides a comprehensive understanding of Chinese history and politics over the last century I really appreciated this as Chang has obviously taken the time to research many things and has managed to keep a distance between her own experiences and historical factsOne last uestion that does remain to be answered Why has China not eschewed Mao yet It has been than forty years since he died and yet the official stance is one of reverence and deification The idea apparently is that it would hurt the image of the Communist Party but I genuinely fail to understand why The best thing anyone can do is to show Mao in his full idiocy to the masses But as it stands today his body is preserved and revered It's an insult to the entire country I am not surprised Wild Swans is banned in China as well as all of the other books by ChangIf you have even a remote interest in China Chinese people Chinese history or Chinese politics this book is a must read

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Wild Swans Three Daughters of ChinaErience 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 Revol. 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 studyAlong the way there are the classics of any family storylove 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 muchHighly recommended as a big step in education about China in the 20th century through a personal historyAddendum 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