Synopses & Reviews
In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking (Nanjing) and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured, and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. Amazingly, the story of this atrocityone of the worst in world historycontinues to be denied by the Japanese government.Based on extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents in four different languages (many never before published), Iris Chang, whose own grandparents barely escaped the massacre, has written what will surely be the definitive, English-language history of this horrifying episodeone that the Japanese have tried for years to erase from public consciousness.The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers who performed it; of the Chinese civilians who endured it; and finally 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. It was Chang who discovered the diaries of the German leader of this rescue effort, John Rabe, whom she calls the Oskar Schindler of China.” A loyal supporter of Adolf Hitler but far from the terror planned in his Nazi-controlled homeland, he worked tirelessly to save the innocent from slaughter.But this book does more than just narrate details of an orgy of violence; it attempts to analyze the degree to which the Japanese imperial government and its militaristic culture fostered in the Japanese soldier a total disregard for human life.Finally, it tells one more shocking story: Despite the fact that the death toll at Nanking exceeded the immediate deaths from the atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (and even the total wartime casualty count of entire European countries), the Cold War led to a concerted effort on the part of the West and even the Chinese to court the loyalty of Japan and stifle open discussion of this atrocity. Indeed, Chang characterized this conspiracy of silence, which persists to this day, as a second rape.”
"A powerful new work of history and moral inquiry. Chang takes great care to establish an accurate accounting of the dimensions of the violence."
Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai
"Meticulously researched ... A gripping account that holds the readers attention from beginning to end."
Beatrice S. Bartlett, professor of history, Yale University
"Iris Changs research on the Nanking holocaust yields a new and expanded telling of this World War II atrocity and reflects thorough research. The book is excellent; its story deserves to be heard."
Frederic Wakeman, director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
"Heartbreaking.... An utterly compelling book. The descriptions of the atrocities raise fundamental questions not only about imperial Japanese militarism but the psychology of the torturers, rapists, and murderers."
George F. Will, syndicated columnist
"Something beautiful, an act of justice, is occurring in America today concerning something ugly that happened long ago.... Because of Changs book, the second rape of Nanking is ending."
Orville Schell, The New York Times Book Review
"In her important new book ... Iris Chang, whose own grandparents were survivors, recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage."
Ross Terrill, author of Mao, China in Our Time, and Madame Mao
"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 readonly if the past is understood can the future be navigated."
"In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking (Na"
In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdereda 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 the definitive history of this horrifying episode.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-283) and index.
About the Author
Iris Chang lived and worked in California. She was a journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana and worked briefly as a reporter in Chicago before winning a graduate fellowship to the writing seminars program at The Johns Hopkins University. Her first book, Thread of the Silkworm (the story of Tsien Hsue-shen, father of the Peoples Republic of Chinas missile program) received world-wide critical acclaim. She is the recipient of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundations Program on Peace and International Cooperation award, as well as major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the Harry Truman Library. She passed away in 2004.
Table of Contents
Foreword by William C. Kirby
1. The Path to Nanking
2. Six Weeks of Terror
3. The Fall of Nanking
4. Six Weeks of Horror
5. The Nanking Safety Zone
6. What the World Knew
7. The Occupation of Nanking
8. Judgment Day
9. The Fate of the Survivors
10. The Forgotten Holocaust: A Second Rape
Epilogue for the 2011 Edition