Wild Swans

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Wild swans
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is a memoir of three generations of Chinese women from Imperial China through and beyond the Cultural Revolution. Chang's grandmother was a warlord's concubine. Her gently raised mother struggled with hardships in the early days of Mao's revolution and rose, like her husband, to a prominent position in the Communist Party before being denounced during the Cultural Revolution. Chang herself marched, worked, and breathed for Mao until doubt crept in over the excesses of his policies and purges. Born just a few decades apart, their lives overlap with the end of the warlords' regime and overthrow of the Japanese occupation, violent struggles between the Kuomintang and the Communists to carve up China, and, most poignant for the author, the vicious cycle of purges orchestrated by Chairman Mao that discredited and crushed millions of people, including her parents.Jung Chang has said that her intention in writing Wild Swans was to show how the Chinese people, and in particular the women in her family, "fought tenaciously and courageously against impossible odds."The book is, indeed, a testimony to the strength and determination of herself, her mother and her grandmother and their resourcefulness in recreating themselves time and again in the face of suffering, humiliation and disillusionment. Personal and historical stories interweave and the stories of these women and their families act as a lens through which we gain further insight into the turbulent history of twentieth century China.One such insight involves the treatment of women in Chinese society through the years. There are no stunning revelations here but there are many horrific reminders. The grandmother's early life reveals a litany of horrors, such as the torture which was the custom of foot binding and the slavery and hardship that was the lot of the concubine.Chang's mother endures a different kind of hardship, one born of her husband's unbending...
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