Bursting with drama, heartbreak and horror, this extraordinary family portrait mirrors China’s century of turbulence. Chang’s grandmother, Yu-fang, had her feet. Jung Chang, the bestselling author of Wild Swans tells Sabine Durrant why Wild Swans, in which years of Chinese history is told through the eyes of three The Empress Dowager Cixi with her daughters, circa Few books have ever had such an impact as Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. Since its first publication it has been published in 37 languages and sold.

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It was a long and arduous trek. She was allowed to visit her parents’ home, but never allowed to spend the night. Chinese middle classes put up with a ‘Maoist culture of fear’.

Eventually, the couple were transferred to YibinChang’s father’s hometown. Preview — Wild Swans by Jung Chang.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Heavy sigh Finally, I was done. Mao thought this would allow China to surpass the United States and Great Britain in industrial output within 15 years and, in one swift leap, hurl China toward the desired goal of threr and to the forefront of industrialized nations. That figure only includes people who were murdered by Mao – and in peace time, which is completely unprecedented in the history of the world.

Compare, for instance, the starting phrase chna this great classic “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens– “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the daughfers of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it sswans the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair The venue — the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in London — was chosen by her.

Could she be persuaded to live here? The biggest grossing non-fiction paperback in publishing history, it sold more than 10m copies worldwide and was translated into 30 languages. Was being labeled a “capitalist,” that is an owner of private property, considered good or bad? I cast around for something to dauughters. Those who love self-righteous grief. View all 8 comments. Three Daughters of China”.

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‘This book will shake the world’

Saturday 29 December Much as I admire the depth and quality of its details, I remain appalled by its weepy tone. I had the fortune of having studied Chinese history for half a year in my Advanced History class in high school and so all the main events and political players were familiar to me, yet Wild Swans offered me so much new information.

Three Daughters of China was everything I could have ever wanted. Her hair is long and black, youthfully half-bunched, and her face seems unlined.

As the family was relatively poor, her father schemed to have her taken as a concubine to high-ranking warlord General Xue Zhi-heng, in order to gain status, which was hugely thrwe in terms of quality of life. I want to tell everyone about it.

The novel is simultaneously depressing and uplifting and is made even more so by the way it is narrated so honestly and emotionally and in such a self-aware manner. Those who look for unique writing styles, or breathtaking passages, memorable quotes, wordplays, or interesting new words jhng not find anything here. It is an imposing establishment. So, you might come to realize that all the cultures could be immoral but stuck up in a time warp, especially when human dignity is already trodden.

Her manicured nails are as shiny as oyster-shells, but she fidgets a lot, folding the skirt of the dress over and over, and smoothing the buttons.

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. We bought this book before a trip to Beijing inbut Amazon was particularly slow with their delivery and it arrived just a couple of days before our departure.

His complete lack of ideological belief underpins the book: Such a privileged position allows the author to grow up and receive an education during the s in the midst of much social upheaval. One of the most difficult things, says Halliday, was cutting the material down to a manageable size.

They were declared enemies of the state. I wondered if I had become hardened to all of the sorrow and suffering, but I think the second half was more compelling because it was when the author began telling her story, from her point of view, and it was easier to put myself into the story and thus, more heartbreaking.

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Wild Swans – Wikipedia

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. Anyway, as you may know, neither side comes out smelling kf a rose. Were individual or political considerations more important in choosing a mate?

Nobody has put them together into this coherent picture of Mao. Looking for beautiful books? At university Chang studied English. There was a moment in the early s when everybody everywhere seemed to be reading Wild Swans.

Chang shakes her head. Policy towards the ‘stones’ was: Nevertheless, this is an insightful, accessible and enjoyable book. The educational- and health systems crashed completely. Recommended to Trina by: Also, out of my ignorance, somehow, I brushed upon some historical facts about Mao Zedong, the man I have been curious about, or I could have been looking up to because of his numinous image.

I will, when I get cchina time, reread it just to see how I now view it. It was, however, the first book, after reading Isabelle Allende, that kept me awake for several weeks afterwards.

The author “grew up in Manchuria under Japanese and then Russian occupation”. Although Jung Chang’s family are fairly privileged much of the time, they still experience great hardships: Because most readers appear to have enjoyed Chang’s maudlin style more than I did, I urge everyone to read this book which has so much to tell us.

Westerners could ask Beijing why it wants to follow the road of the man of was responsible for the deaths of well over 70 million Chinese in peacetime. Why does she characterize the nation as having “slid into doublespeak”?