Few books have had such an impact as Wild Swans: a popular best seller and a critically acclaimed history of China that opened up the country to the world.
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 that is extraordinary in every way.
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"Immensely moving and unsettling; an unforgettable portrait of the brain-death of a nation." (The 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." (The Independent on Sunday)
This book is very long but flows well as you listen to it. The history described is fascinating and a very interesting, personal insight into the situation over this near 100 year period.
Brilliant book, amazing author. Hard to get into at spots as an overload of political information. However! Do not be put off! This is an incredible real story of 3 undoubtedly amazing women, you will be happy you finished it
Enthralling story. Well written, beautifully read. Truly an anazing story told across generations intertwined with a balance of history and information.
"Mind-boggling account of Chinese upheaval"
Not necessarily. I have the print version and consider both valuable.
Although I was familiar with the outlines of this period in China, I found the personal story of the family that goes through the experiences of drastic changes riveting.
Maybe something like "adapt or die" or "what seems to be true isn't" or "you can't always get what you want and sometimes you can't even get what you need"
Amazing story, well told.
"Way too long"
I liked that after 27 hours it ended positively! Very sad story of an amazingly brilliant family and young woman finally finding freedom!
"Pain, so much gratuitos pain."
A timely reminder of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. Mrs Jung is tiresome sometimes in her perfection and one would like to hear more about her mother or grandmother, but the story is so painful one must overlook her self pity.
"A BOOK FOR THE AGES"
A touching personal story/national history; reads like a novel; universal significance. I cried, too, Jung.
Heart rendering stuff. A real eye opener to the true recent history of China. Amazing the strength of the human spirit
I have never read anything about China, I am so happy I have read this. It has explained so much that I had no knowledge about. I am looking forward to learning more especially if it means that Jung Chang has written it. Thank you for sharing your family's amazing story .
"Gets under your skin"
This brave book allows us an insight into the China that we were never meant to see. Compelling and very very sad.
"Memorable, moving and saddening"
This is one of the most memorable books I’ve listened to or read. The 20th history of China is told through the personal experiences of three generations of women, including the author, who writing in the first person, brings the suffering and enormous social upheavals painfully to life. Lives made so grim by the injustices heaped on the women and their families that I felt fury on their behalf. I was engrossed throughout by the bravery and tenacity of victims of the different regimes the worst of which by far was that of Mao. I knew that he’d ruined the country by his extreme version of communism but hadn’t realised quite how vicious he and his henchmen were during the cultural revolution. Hitler and Stalin are rightly vilified, but, I think Mao outdid them in his megalomania. It’s sad how the early optimism that Mao’s take-over of the country would create a more equal society degenerated into a highly hierarchical regime of fear and cruelty, a ruined economy, mass starvation and millions of deaths. A period of madness that also obliterated much of China’s proud cultural heritage and scarred the lives of a generation.
I unreservedly recommend this superb and well narrated book.
A deeply touching story of a family of generations that experienced the turbulence of Chinese history. A fabulously written book that depicts empathically, the love, pain, dedication, horror and chaos of living through post empirical China and the communist uprising and totalitarian Maoist time. A must have read!!
"Outstanding story , incredible narration."
Outstanding performance by Pik Sen Lim- I will really miss her voice as I go to sleep tonight.
Incredibly moving story.
A truly beautiful story well written with a sensitive touch, while not ignoring the brutality of China's past.
Excellently narrated and truly authentic
"Great story but a hard slog."
A very interesting account of 20th century China but I did find it a hard slog getting through it.
"An unforgetable story "
A horrifying account of life under Chairnan Mao and the misery he bought to his own people.
"Second time around ..."
I'm far from an avid reader but Wild Swans is one of the very few books I have read (over 15 years ago), a fascinating history, a real insight to Chinese life, shocking most of the time. But so good it deserved another 'read' this time audio and again really enjoyed the journey and a good reminder of how lucky we are.
I found this book although long, fascinating. I couldn't believe that people could be put through such awful things. It makes you feel eternally grateful that you weren't born there in that time. I think everyone should read it. A
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