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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Hardcover – 10 Jan 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; First Edition edition (10 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408812673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408812679
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


`One of the most controversial books of 2011' --Guardian

`If you think you are ambitious for your child, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother will make you think again ... Amy Chua's philosophy of child-rearing may be harsh and not for the fainthearted, but ask yourself this: is it really more cruel than the laissez-faire indifference and babysitting-by-TV which too often passes for parenting these days? Millions of failing British children could use a Tiger Mother in their tank' --Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph

`Blissfully funny ... The book, for all its hilarious/hair-raising insights into how to raise terrifyingly over-accomplished children, strikes me as ultimately being not so much about parenting methods as about the immigrant experience, though the two are of course inextricably intertwined ... Chua remains a second-generation immigrant who wants the best for her children. It is not hard to understand if you know the milieu, and not hard either to feel a sneaking admiration for her' --India Knight, Sunday Times

`Could it be that much of the laissez-faire parenting of the modern West uses the idea of enlightened liberality to give an intellectual justification for what is actually a form of laziness? ... If it's results you want, then the Chinese mother does indeed know best' --Dominic Lawson, Independent

`Her tale is compelling in the same way as a good thriller'
--Financial Times

`[Chua's] exhortations for perfection struck a little chord in me ... Ever since reading about her I've decided to become a little bit harder, and that's a good thing. I will polish those rough diamonds of mine' --Adam Brophy, Irish Times

`[An] alternately terrifying and amusing account of how a hyper-achieving Chinese mother in America raised her children to be accomplished musicians, mathematicians and linguists by yelling at them 24 hours a day. Dammit, her kids look happy too' --Martin Ivens, Sunday Times

`And for all its quotable outbursts from Mama Grisly (the nickname was inevitable), it will gratify the same people who made a hit out of the granola-hearted Eat Pray Love ... [a] slickly well-shaped story' --Janet Masun, New York Times

`So I'm not against the way Chua pushes her daughters. And I loved her book as a courageous and thought-provoking read. It's also more supple than her critics let on'
--David Brooks, New York Times

Book Description

Witty, entertaining and provocative, this is a unique and important memoir that will transform your perspective of parenting forever

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I remember once attending a school coffee morning and complaining afterwards to a friend of mine, who is from Hong Kong, how competitive some parents are. To say she was aghast is understating the case - "No," she exclaimed, "Hong Kong is much harder to bring your child up - very, very competitive!" After reading this book, I perhaps understand what she meant. Amy Chua brought her two daughters up, in the US, but on the Chinese parenting model. This book does explain why, and how, there are so many academically brilliant Chinese students; not to mention so many gifted musicians, chess champions, etc. However, it also explains the cost of putting this intense programme into action - no playdates, sleepovers, and an over scheduling which sounded exhausting for her, let alone a child.

Amy Chua obviously has a great belief in her parenting methods and she is, at times, quite shockingly aggressive about 'Western' methods. However, she herself admits that she prefers to learn things by rote and found a career in Law uncomfortable by her unwillingness to 'question', which perhaps meant the model worked for her and so she approved of it whole heartedly for her own children. This, however, I believe is the true shortcoming in her approach - yes, children do need to learn some things by rote, but to be real learners for life, you need to inspire and create a love of learning and a willingness to try things without fear of failure. All you can do, ultimately, for children is to open doors - let them experience different activities and choose which of those they enjoy. To battle with your children over music practice day after day must surely be draining for everyone in the house and, you do wonder at the cost of success.
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Format: Paperback
I finished reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in just over an hour. It was a very entertaining read and I do feel that Amy has been gravely misunderstood, from some of the reviews of this book (not on Amazon but other publications). First and foremost, as a woman of South East Asian chinese descent I will say that it takes a lot of guts for Amy to write about her rise and fall in her super quest for her children to be nothing but the best. She also comes across in her book as someone who is completely self aware of the situation- making a parody of herself if you will- and finally realising that her discipline heavy approach did not quite cut the mustard with Lulu. Unorthodox and cruel as certain quarters may feel her methods are, I think one message is clear- she never told her daughters that "you can never do this, you are not good enough". Her berating and temper only flares up when they were not trying hard enough.

There is nothing worse than raising a child to be an adult with low self esteem and self doubt. Too often, parents give up easily when their children throw tantrums and then these children later on grow up wishing they had put more effort into what they had been doing ("should have practised more piano, should have done this, should have tried harder etc"). The mental and physical challenges required of any individual working on something full time, be it sports, music, arts, etc, resembles a marathon, your legs are killing you but you want to get to the finishing line because you have come this far and there really is no turning back.

As with any other book I think a balanced approach must be adopted.
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Format: Hardcover
There can't be many people who would agree with every word on child-rearing here. Nor will there be many who think nothing here makes sense. The book is compelling reading, good to think with, and fun to hurl away with great force. I know I did this. I also know I picked it up again. I wanted to know what happened next.

I can understand her frustration with liberal parenting, and with the dumbing down endemic in the Anglophone world. (I looked at the OCR GCSE English marking criteria today; these contain two uses of a plural verb with a singular noun.) Chua implies - rightly - that these declining standards are less likely to be disadvantageous to the children of the Goldman Sachs bankers than to the children of struggling immigrants.

And yet most readers of this book will also have found themselves gasping in horror at some point: I know I did. For me, Chua's educational methods are more bearable than her character-training efforts. I agree with her that nothing is fun until you do it properly, and there is evidence that constant praise and no challenges does not make for happiness. It is also plain that few children will do enough music practice - or enough grammar or times tables - unless pressured, though conversely we could consider the long-term cost of installing perfectionism and restless dissatisfaction in every child. WE as readers could consider such things; Chua doesn't.

But the extent to which - in Chua's eyes - birthday cards and funeral eulogies also become tasks to be done 'properly' by children is chilling. Conditional love is one thing, but nobody can be perfect in every respect. Is Chua quite perfect enough herself to set standards like this for the entire world? Is it quite enough to be a soloist, or a law professor, or a novelist?
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