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am 21. Februar 2000
I knew very little of modern Chinese history before reading Wild Swans, and once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Chang manages to deliver the personal account of her family's struggle while giving the reader enough information to understand something of the historical, political, and social influences at work in modern China. The book delivers a solid narrative from Chang's grandmother who was raised in "old" China through the Japanese occupation of Manchuria through the establishment of communism under Mao and how these changes in regime impacted upon her family.
Wild Swans is also a very telling account of how societies have been willing to totally overturn their societies in favor of the Communist ideal. Readers interested in communism may want to compare Wild Swans to accounts about communism in Russia. Chang ends her account with Mao's death and how she was able to leave China, but it left a lot of unanswered questions. It left me wanting to learn more about Chinese history from a broader political and historical perspective. I'm very eager to learn how China has changed since Mao - which Chang hints has changed for the better in some ways while allowing some of the old corruption under the Kuomintang to seep back in.
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am 26. Februar 2000
The book depicts three generations of struggles in China through a first-hand account by Jung Chang from the dawn of this century till the end of the Cultural Revolution. Words fail me, in both my personal expressions of emotions and gratitude toward a contributary review of this artistic piece that will justify its mesmerising depths. Salman Rushide, the author whom I have always look up to for his creativity and impeccable writing skills (contents aside), which elements have reinforced a linguistic benchmark within my humble self; had failed to lure my temporal attention away from the technical contents of Jung Chang's book. In short: It is the single, MOST MOVING piece of non-fictitious literature that I have ever read, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wishes to examine critically, the many aspects pertaining to the essential perspectives of life. I was intensively devouring the book throughout the past week and had neglected my own research study. In return however, I have been induced one of life's most precious lessons... about humanity, political struggles and personal reforms through thoughts and emotions..all of which I am positive to be beneficial to any human being living within any community.
She (the author) was the first Chinese national to be awarded a doctorate degree in the UK (in 1983) and have stayed on in London since departing China in 1978. The book has won many prizes and critical acclaims..perhaps the most notable being the '1993 British Book of the Year Award'.
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am 2. Januar 2000
When I sat down with Wild Swans, I had no expectations but to be informed and entertained by what I hoped would be a good book. I read to gain a personal understanding of the world in which we live through accounts and examples given by others of things I would never be able to experience first-hand. Never have I read a book that drew me in so powerfully and personally as Ms. Chang's Wild Swans. Wild Swans is epic in it's historical backdrop moving untirelessly through the last century of China, roughly between the years 1911 and 1976, but this is no textbook. You will never feel as though you just entered a lecture hall and are sitting through a journalistic or pedantic analysis of these turbulent times. This is the story of the author Jung Chang, her mother, and her grandmother. It is through their lives that history unfolds and is exposed. From the end of Imperial China, through Japanese occupation, the Nationalist movement, the Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communists, Communist takeover, Mao's Great Leap Forward starving tens of millions to death, the Cultural Revolution turning a national identity upon it's head and breaking it's collective spirit in the process, to Mao Zedong's death, you will be amazed at what you learn in this book about the capacity of the heart to perservere and triumph. I couldn't help but to feel ashamed at the provincial life we are handed in our land of freedom, and at once be thankful that we are so endowed. Jung Chang explores her family so deeply that her subjects, such as her stoic father, a true beliver in the Communist cause, and her grandmother, a veritable symbol through her bound feet of a time and place long gone, become indelibly etched upon the mind of the reader. By the end of Wild Swans, you will feel you know China and Ms. Chang and her family intimately. This book fulfills whatever you set out to obtain or attain when you devote time to reading. If you have never been afraid to crack a book, let this fall into your hands, enter your heart, and enrich your life and in the end, thank Jung Chang for opening your eyes. Thank you, Chang Jung.
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am 30. Mai 2003
Das Buch schließt- wie ich beim Lesen schnell erkannt habe- eine Wissenslücke, von der ich zuvor gar nichts geahnt habe!!! Man kann es nicht beschreiben, aber das all das, was die Autorin, ihre Mutter und Großmutter sowie das ganze chinesische Volk in den letzte 100 Jahren mitgemacht haben ist schlichtweg unglaublich zumal es in einem Land mit langer Kulturgeschichte passierte. Besonders bewegend ist es dabei, dass vieles zu einer Zeit, in der ich selbst hier "in Frieden und Wohlstand- mit allen bürgerlichen Freiheiten ausgestattet" aufgewachsen bin, passiert ist- und uns nur unter einem vergleichsweise harmlos klingenden Begriff wie "Kulturrevolution" bekannt ist. Es bleibt die abschließende Erkenntnis: Der Wahnsinn und die Blindheit der Menschheit kann schier grenzenlos sein! Wie glücklich kann man sein, nicht in so ein Elend hineingeboren worden zu sein...
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am 11. August 1999
"Wild swans" is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. The author follows the life of three generations of Chinese women. The story rings true because it is the story of the writer's family. In most readable style, the reader absorbs the history of China. Not only did I get a history lesson, I loved every minute of the education this book provided. I was fascinated by it. After, I sought out other books that spoke to the plight of Chinese women through history. It led me to Pearl Buck, more Amy Tan, whom I love, "The White Haired Girl", "Red Azela" and others written by writers I'd never have found had "Wild Swans" not peaked my interest. I often send it to friends whom I know will enjoy it and would probably never discover it otherwise. A must read for those who choose to stretch well beyond the bestseller list!
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am 4. August 2010
This book is a definite page turner. It is a great historical account of China and the fate of three generations of women. I took this book on vacation and enjoyed reading every page. I would highly recommend this book! I felt empty for days after I completed the book....
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am 6. Februar 2000
Jung Chang has written her family's story. Ordinarily this would not attract particular notice, but they lived in China in the 20th Century. With the possible exception of the nations of the former Soviet Union and the Jews, surely no people have suffered as the Chinese.
The tragedies that befell China are now well known, and this is the overriding theme of the book, but it is also about people and two aspects of human nature dominate, one despicable the other uplifting. The narrow-minded cruelty of the puppets of the state (in whatever form, be it the Kuomintang, the Japanese or the Communists) and the courage in adversity displayed by her family (particularly her mother) when faced with inhuman barbarity and disaster.
A superb book, long, but not difficult to read.
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am 2. März 2014
Eine trotz ihrer Länge meist spannend zu lesende Biographie der Autorin, ihrer Mutter und ihrer Großmutter vom China des letzten Kaisers bis in die 70er Jahre des letzten Jahrhunderts.
Die Geschichte der Großmutter in der Kaiserzeit wird leider am kürzestesten behandelt, aber naturgemäß hat die Autorin davon auch weniger Informationen.
Mit mehreren hundert Seiten und aufgrund der Thematik anstrengend zu lesen gerät die Zeit vor und in der Kulturrevolution. Allzu oft werden Demütigungen und Misshandlungen unter verschiedensten Vorwänden geschildert - allerdings fanden sie wohl auch allzuoft statt.
Dennoch gewinnt man einen sehr guten Einblick in die neuere chinesische Geschichte. Und damit Verständnis auch die Menschen, die manchmal verschlossen und undurchschaubar wirken.
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am 4. November 1997
As a Chinese-American, this book opened my eyes to what life could have been like had my parents stayed in China. It helps you understand what a totally different history/experience China has had in the last 50 years compared to what we have had in the West. Compared to the imperialist days and the Mao days, what is happening now in China (opening up with more freedoms) seems like a dream. The simple, straightforward narrative style contrasts dramatically with the events described, producing a gripping, unique book. What happened during the Mao years is so unbelievably cruel; it seems like a combination Clockwork Orange/Mad Max/1984 situation. I have lent this book to a Chinese national friend of mine for her opinion as to whether it could really have been this bad over there.
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am 8. Juni 1997
I started reading this book not knowing what to expect. Most of the books about China that I had read were historical and erudite, but they somehow left me more mystified than enlightened about China. Though I am from India and my culture is so different from China's, this one brought the country and its incredible women alive for me like nothing else could have. Weaving the stories of three generations of women who saw the world around them change cataclysmically, the book tells their stories--from the bound feet of the grandmother to the author's own escape to Britain--with a lucid, un-putdownable simplicity and power. I read the book, then my mother did, then my sister. It was a lesson in how much we had in common with these women who led lives so different from ours
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