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The Rape of Nankingby Iris Chang
Synopses & Reviews
In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered—a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written what will surely be the definitive history of this horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an unlikely hero whom Chang calls the "Oskar Schindler of China" and who worked tirelessly to protect the innocent and publicize the horror. More than just narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape of Nanking analyzes the militaristic culture that fostered in the Japanese soldiers a total disregard for human life. Finally, it tells the appalling story: about how the advent of the Cold War led to a concerted effort on the part of the West and even the Chinese to stifle open discussion of this atrocity. Indeed, Chang characterizes this conspiracy of silence, that persists to this day, as "a second rape."
"Chang fails [in her account] because she rushes to simplify complex events and to universalize what happened at the expense of a careful, comprehensive appreciation of a world violently destroyed." Kirkus
"In her important new book, Iris Chang, whose own grandparents were survivors, recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage." Orville Schell, New York Times Book Review
"A gripping account that holds the reader's attention from beginning to end. This meticulously researched book is a moving drama that pays fitting tribute to the Americans and Europeans living in Nanking who risked their lives to rescue the Chinese people from rape and extermination." Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai
"Anyone interested in the relation between war, self-righteousness, and the human spirit will find The Rape of Nanking of fundamental importance. It is scholarly, an exciting investigation and a work of passion. In places it is almost unbearable to read, but it should be read — only if the past is understood can the future be navigated." Ross Terrill, author of Mao, China in Our Time and Madame Mao
In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres occurred. The Japanese army swept into the the city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenceless city but systematically raped, tortured and murdered more than 300,000 civilians.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-283) and index.
About the Author
Iris Chang’s numerous honors include the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation’s Program on Peace and International Cooperation Award. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is also the author of the bestselling The Rape of Nanking, available from Penguin.
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