September 13, 2009

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Blending the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history, Wild Swans has become a bestselling classic in thirty languages, with more than ten million copies sold. The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao's impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love.
Jung Chang describes the life of her grandmother, a warlord's concubine; her mother's struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents' experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a "barefoot doctor," a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving — and ultimately uplifting — detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history. (from
Barnes and Noble)

I read the synopsis of this book before I bought it but I don't think I really realized that this book in not fiction. It's a biography of 3 people set in a very history-making (?) time so it's a very long book--508 pages. It did take me a whole month to read it. There's a lot of historical details, information, dates and facts to go through. Jung Chang does a fantastic job of telling her story--and that of her mom and grandma--making it read more like a novel than a history book. This book was such an eye opener to what it was like to live under Communist rule. This is a great book--loved it.