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4,8 von 5 Sternen
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4,8 von 5 Sternen
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am 4. Dezember 1999
As an overseas Chinese, this book was an eye-opener for me. My parents' families were both very well off in China -- my great-grandfather was a military man with huge business holdings in the Northeast -- and both families fled to Taiwan before 1949. Growing up, I was fed a rather biased view of what happened in China. This book describes in great detail the injustices and anarchy in China in the earlier part of this century and the conditions that allowed the Communists to defeat the KMT. It then goes into what happened after the KMT were defeated and the insanity that initiated then. It is a *very* unbiased book that lays out the facts as they are. The overall story, the numerous anecdotes and the many characters are all gripping and memorable. Particularly unforgettable are the events that occurred after 1950 under Mao -- actual madness that make the fictional lunacy in "Animal Farm" and "1984" look very tame by comparison. "Wild Swans" is part history, part biography, and wholly educational and entertaining. I also highly recommend "A Single Tear" for another biographical tale of the derangement of China under Mao.
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am 28. Mai 2000
I had never heard of this book when I picked it off the "China" shelf in the bookstore--I just wanted to read about Mainland China so that I could know a little more about someone I tutor in English. I was mesmerized. One strength of the book (besides the author's passion and her beautiful writing) is that you understand each of the 3 generations in the context of the others. The grandmother's world, China in the '20's, suggests why the communists (or something like them) were necessary and how deeply Mao betrayed that necessity. I knew very little about the Cultural Revolution except what appeared in the papers--now I see how crucial it is for us all to know the details, from people who were there. Read Hannah Arendt's Totalitarianism in light of Mao--it's all there.
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am 27. September 1997
Wild Swans is an absolutely excellent choice if you're interested in learning the fascinating history of a country you know little about and want a page-turning read.
Wild Swans tells the story of nearly a century (the 20th) of Chinese life through the lives of three generations of women, told by the youngest of the three. From the grandmother with bound feet who was a concubine, to the disenfranchised Communist activist, to a brilliant young scholar, you learn an honest and unapologetic history of the country. Since it is told by an insider of the communist revolution, you learn much more than you would from a Chinese history book. You also get a powerful picture of what it was like to live through such a tumultuous time period in a country so rich with history.
It can be devastatingly sad and depressing at times because much of the 20th century in China has more than its share of starvation, torture, murder and deception. But, I was impressed with the voice the author uses. She is sometimes bit
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am 26. August 2003
Die Autorin von "Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China", auf deutsch "Wilde Schwäne", war die erste Chinesin die einen Doktortitel von einer britischen Universität erhielt. Das Resultat ihres mehr als gelungenen Versuchs, die Geschichte(n) ihrer Mutter und ihrer Großmutter und gleichzeitig die Ereignisse des Chinas der letzten 100 Jahre nachzuzeichnen, ist ein bewegendes Buch voller lebhafter Beschreibungen und ein wichtiges Zeitdokument, das jeder unbedingt lesen sollte.
Jung Chang ist die Tochter einer tapferen Familie, die zu Zeiten der Kommunisten und auch schon zuvor Dinge durchgemacht hat, die wir uns kaum vorstellen können. Wir erleben auf ihrer "Reise" durch die Familiengeschichten dreier Generationen von Frauen die tiefsten menschlichen Abgründe, die das grausame Regime unter Mao hervorgebracht hat und gleichzeitig, wenn auch weniger oft, großen Mut und Tapferkeit, sogar unbändige Hilfsbereitschaft und Loyalität zwischen den Menschen, was unter den beschriebenen Umständen noch unglaublicher wirkt. Dieses Buch sollte auf keinem Bücherregal fehlen!
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am 23. April 2000
I began reading this book while living in Shanghai, China as an English teacher. I didn't find time to finish it until I returned to the United States. I regret not finishing it while there. 'Wild Swans' not only informed me of the uncountable tragedies Chinese endured during their tulmultuous 20th century, but helped me understand behaviours and traditions of the Chinese that I had difficulty understanding while living there. I believe I might have adapted more quickly to life in Shanghai had I read the book before I commenced my year and half teaching stint. "Wild Swans" should be required reading for anyone boarding an airplane headed for China -the number of arrogant and misinformed westerners giving all westerners a bad name would then be decreased.
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The book started off pretty well. The story of her grandmother with the bound feet, living as a concubine, trying to escape the culture, yet integrally woven into it; this was all very interesting. And the area when Mao took over with his foggy regime is enthralling. But then the book trails off and becomes frankly boring. Granted, she's had a more eventful life than I, but she sort of lost track of the focus about halfway through, as though she were excited about writing the book in the begining, but lost her concentration along the way and just sort of wrapped it up at the end. Overall, I would not recommend this book. 60 to 80 pages of interesting material, and lots of filler.
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am 23. Mai 2000
I can't believe more people don't know about this incredible book. It's beautifully written and tremendously informative. I agree with the reviewer below who said that it's the best book on 20th century China. And what a movie it would make if done right. Still, I'm taking away from the book itself -- if you think it's tough reading Holocaust literature, try this -- the Japanese and the Chinese committed the most horrible tortures and crimes on each other you can imagine, yet the author dwells on the hope and the love of her family despite the horrors she recounts. One of the most moving books you'll ever read.
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am 17. Dezember 1999
I had never been interested in Chinese history until I began reading Wild Swans, by Jung Chang. Now I can't wait to learn more about Chinese history and culture! This book, published in 1992, could be considered both a historical novel and biography. It is the story the author's grandmother, mother and her own life in China during twentieth century. Not only does the reader get a glimpse of what life was like in China, but they also get a very detailed and in-depth account of China's tumultuous history in this century. Because Wild Swans has two different focuses, on China and her family's history, the Chang's tone is very straight forward. She has a very strong voice that is prevalent as she described her personal life. There is quite a lot of description throught the entire book, but that only adds more dimension to the book and gives the reader a better look at the lives of the author's maternal relatives. The description includes great detail about the different governments that took power in China during the twentieth century and how her family was involved in those various regimes. The details about the government become lengthy and boring at times, but it was always interesting to see how Chang's family fit into the power of the times. One of the additions to the book that makes it more interesting is the way Chang incorporated so many Chinese quotes into the book, comparing them to the current times she and her family were facing. One of them that greatly affected the lives of all three generations of women in the book was "where there is a will to condemn, there is evidence". Ancient Chinese proverbs like this are used in the book to show how the Communists rearranged Chinese history to show that their regime was the best China would ever have. I have never thought about incorporating quotes in my writing, but this book showed me how that can be done, espescially when used a metaphor, like the example given. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, for those that don't have interest in history, this book might now be the one for you. It also is a biography of three women, so those that aren't interested in learning about the lives of women might be turned off by this book also. However, Wild Swans provides a detailed account of a culture and lifestyle that isn't as well known as other western civilizations, so those that are looking to find soemthing a little different in a book would probably be drawn to this book's story of three brave women living in during very trying times. I give this book four well-deserved stars.
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am 18. Mai 1998
Wild Swans by Jung Chang depicts the day-to-day experiences of three generations of women who lived during one of the most tumultuous periods in modern Chinese history. Chang's grandmother had bound feet and was a concubine to a Manchu general at the end of the Qing dynasty. Chang's mother experienced World War II, became a dedicated Communist party official, and was free to marry a man of her choice, someone sharing her own ideals for a better China. Despite their loyalties to the revolution, Chang's parents were both persecuted as "class-enemies" during the Cultural Revolution, and suffered this betrayal both physically and psychologically. Chang herself grew up in the atmosphere of Mao's deification, was briefly a Red Guard, and eventually left China to live in the west.
Although Chang's prose is simple, she effectively weaves this human drama in a way that makes the experience of reading Wild Swans an emotional roller-coaster. Readers can taste the hopes and disappointments experienced by millions of Chinese people at the fate of foreign invaders, political factionalism, and the painful changes caused by a neophyte government in the throes of economic and sociopolitical revolution. Wild Swans clearly depicts the growing pains of an ancient society in the new industrial world from the perspective of ordinary men, women, and children. It would be a mistake to think of this book as relevant only in the genres of Asian Studies or Women's Studies, for the universal themes of courage, loyalty, love, and the resilience of the human spirit transcend the boundaries of race or gender.
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am 14. April 1999
Wild Swans is a biography/autobiography by Jung Chang; she tells of three women--her grandmother, born in 1909; her mother, born in 1931; she herself was born in 1952. Her grandmother, Yu-fang, lived as the old Manchu empire was dying out. She had bound feet, became concubine to a warlord general for whom she had a daughter, and later married a Manchu doctor. She lived into the Communist era, but never lost her femininity. Ms. Chang's mother, Bao Qin, later named de hong (or "wild swan") by her Manchu doctor step-father, grew up during Chiang-kai-shek's unification and the Japanese invasion. Her section of the book tells of her difficult life under Japanese domination and how these atrocities turned her to the Communist party. We meet her sincerely dedicated Communist husband and see the "ups and downs" to which they are submitted by that party. De hong took part in the Long March, was often separated from her family, helped with the disasters of the Great Leap Forward that resulted in terrible famine, had to fight bandits, had miscarriages, and eventually saw all of her children placed in nurseries--all in pursuit of Communist goals. The third swan, Jung Chang, attempted to join the Red Guard herself, but was never violent enough in nature to really participate in the atrocities committed under Mao's direction. She saw the suffering her parents endured, sometimes holding high positions, sometimes under house arrest or even exiled. As a student she was sent out into the provinces to "learn from the peasants." Ultimately, given the opportunity to study abroad, Ms. Chang elected to live in Great Britain. Her three brothers have also left China, but she keeps in touch with her mother and sister by mail and fax, and feels that China is changing rapidly from the historical periods described in her book. The reader who wants to find out what has been happening in China for the last century while looking at the lives of three interesting women should enjoy Wild Swans 500 riveting pages. Another interesting book about Mao and Deng that corroborates Ms. Chang's historical account is The New Emperors by Harrison E. Salisbury.
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