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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China [Kindle Edition]

Jung Chang
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £6.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular bestseller which has sold more than 13 million copies and a critically acclaimed history of China; a tragic tale of nightmarish cruelty and an uplifting story of bravery and survival.

Through the story of three generations of women in her own family – the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother and the daughter herself – Jung Chang reveals the epic history of China's twentieth century.

Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this is a masterpiece which is extraordinary in every way.

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Product Description


‘It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book.’ Mary Wesley

‘Everything about Wild Swans is extraordinary. It arouses all the emotions, such as pity and terror, that great tragedy is supposed to evoke, and also a complex mixture of admiration, despair and delight at seeing a luminous intelligence directed at the heart of darkness’ Minette Marrin, The Sunday Telegraph

‘Immensely moving and unsettling; an unforgettable portrait of the brain-death of a nation’ J.G. Ballard, Sunday Times

‘“Wild Swans” made me feel like a five-year-old. This is a family memoir that has the breadth of the most enduring social history.’ Martin Amis, Independent on Sunday

‘There has never been a book like this’ Edward Behr, Los Angeles Times

From the Publisher

The publication of Wild Swans in 1991 was a worldwide phenomenon. Not only did it become the best-selling non-fiction book in British publishing history, with sales of well over two million, it was received with unanimous critical acclaim, and was named the winner of the 1992 NCR Book Award and the 1993 British Book of the Year Award.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6291 KB
  • Print Length: 713 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ODY2YI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
124 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning autobiography 19 July 2005
By Ally
I was reluctant to finish this book, because it was so absorbing that I felt my days would be sadly lacking without more pages to turn and devour. I will undoubtedly re-read it before long, as did the person who lent me the book.
This is a sensitive yet in places deeply shocking exploration of the lives of three generations of women in one Chinese family, beginning in 1909 and ending (in print at least) in 1991. The stories are of a grandmother who was concubine to a warlord, a mother torn between her duties towards her family and to the Party, and the author Jung Chang (or Er-hong, one of the 'wild swans' of the title), who charts her mental battle against (or submission to) the relentless indoctrination of the Mao regime, and depicts her family's hardships under Communism and beforehand.
The intelligent account begins in a China where the people distance themselves from politics and are crippled by their own senseless restrictions and rigid traditions, and describes the transformation to a China equally constrained but much changed. While life at first improves as a result of the rise of Communism, the irrational taboos and regulations soon return, but now in a political and violently enforced form. This is the atmosphere in which the protagonist grows up. It is still a China of persecution, vendettas and hardship, and now ruled by Mao, who wants control of every aspect of his people's lives, and he achieves his control by setting groups and individuals against each other and maintaining a climate of fear and mindless adulation.
Descriptions of China's romantic beauty and subtle culture sit side-by-side with tales of horrifying cruelty and absurdity, leading the reader on an unpredictable and tumultuous journey, which evoked in me unfailing empathy and admiration for Jung Chang.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This has to be read to be believed 7 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
Wild Swans is a magnificent book, telling the story of a family over three generations from the Boxer Rebellion, to the Peoples Revolution and the Cultural Revolutions. It can be said that China has a most colourful history, but this story is very very black in parts. Wild Swans will bring you on a journey of love and hope, and it will also throw you into a pit of dispare. Jung Changs experiences through her own eyes and that of her family are brought to life in this book. The imagery is vivid and the emmotions will grab you and tie you down. Whilst reading Wild Swans I felt anger and hatred at Mao and his minions.I found the events of the cultural revolution insane, Why? I must have asked this a hundred times. Yet Changs explains Mao's magnetism, his ability to manipulate the masses, and the fear he drove deep into the peoples hearts. With one hand he would offer hope and with the other he would bring suffering. Wild Swans is a prime example of the fight of the human spirit. It is within us all and Changs has brought her familys spirit to life in this book. If you are considering going to China read this book. It gives a great insight into the minds of the Chinese people. All though times have changed, they are still a tough, hardworker and honest people who simply hope for a good life.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and heart-wrenching 26 Jun. 2006
Jung Chang is supposedly one of the most successful Chinese authors; yet her work is banned in her native country and she now lives in London, England. I first heard about "Wild Swans" several years ago but never got around until reading it until now. Now I've read it I'm sorry that I waited so long.

A quote on the cover says "It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book." - I thought to myself that this must be exaggeration. I expected the book to be interesting; I wanted to find out more about China's recent history and I was sure it would be interesting to read what it was like to live through the cultural revolution, but I didn't think its importance would be more than a bit of human interest. I was wrong: the quote is right on the money. This book is important especially if you're like me and thought that you understood enough about China. I thought that I knew what the cultural revolution was about. I thought it was just some craziness in which doctors, administrators and other professionals were sent to work in the fields. What I had no idea about was what it was really like for the people involved. I had also thought that the Chinese government was uniformly bad, responsible as it has been for the invasion of Tibet and gross human rights violations. While that is true, it seems that, like many things, the truth is more complex than it first appears. But this book is more than just dry historical fact - it packs an emotional punch that is hard to overstate. Not only is great suffering described but also great courage and bravery. I often found myself wondering how I would have acted if I found myself in similar situations to the author's parents and whether I would have the courage to act as they did.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, terrible, beautiful story 29 May 2004
By A Customer
I've been glued to this book for the past fortnight - it is so vivid that it feels like you're actually there, in China. Calm gardens, with streams, peach blossoms and flowers form the back drop to many of the scenes, and this beautiful natural landscape contrasts with the mindless violence and disorder of the human world.
Jung Chang's writing is deceptively simple and you truly relate and identify both with the narrator and her family. This means that it's like a gripping novel, as well as biography.
Plus, this book gives you an insider view of the irrationality of Chinese Communism and shows George Orwell's nightmare vision of '1984' to be more accurate than ever. Yet, the book never lapses into tedious explanations or arguments, teaching us history without any effort.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read. Still haven't finished reading it
A complex book to read, but well researched and written. A great read. Still haven't finished reading it.
Published 4 days ago by Avid Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 4 days ago by Esther Teteroo
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book so much
Love this book so much! Arrived in great condition and is just so hard to put down, fantastic read.
Published 5 days ago by Molly
5.0 out of 5 stars everybody should read this book, it gives us a ...
everybody should read this book, it gives us a clear vision of the totalitarianism and what it does to a people, something that will prevail for hundreds of years after. Read more
Published 8 days ago by tiza
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Book, having worked in China it had extra interest
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting read,
Published 20 days ago by M.E. Bolton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. An inside to Chinese history and
Excellent book. An inside to Chinese history and culture
Published 21 days ago by Karollina
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have ever read
I listened to this wonderful book when I went blind for three months once, with a Talking Book - I have always wanted to read it again without constantly being interrupted and... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Cynthia Rabet
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is so horrible I could not bear to read it
This book is so horrible I could not bear to read it. I have every sympathy with the suffering undergone by the Chinese people but I do not like the way she dwells on the gory... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ms G. Murfin-shaw
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring boring.
Boring boring ... I have not yet finished this book and am willing myself to go on. I am in the middle and have read the Grandmothers life and currently I am wading through how... Read more
Published 1 month ago by legoland
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