"The Rape of Nanking" Iris Chang book review

Topics: Nanking Massacre, John Rabe, Minnie Vautrin Pages: 3 (1068 words) Published: November 30, 2013


More than any other unspeakable tragedy that has occurred in modern recorded history, the Holocaust of World War II is by far the most well-known. The slaughtering of over six million Jews by the Nazis has been retold and reimagined for decades as the end-all, be-all of suffering and terror brought down by humans on other humans. But thanks to Iris Chang, another unspeakable act of human indecency which was much less well known, but just as valuable a lesson in mankind’s history to know how inhumane and unfathomable humans can be to one another. This terrible tragedy that deserves to have the light of history shed on to it is The Rape of Nanking.

Iris Chang authors this chilling account of how the Japanese forces in the 1930’s overran and captured the Chinese city of Nanking, and the horrors perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers onto the Chinese people. Chang does not cease to elaborate greatly on the horrible atrocities committed by the Japanese, these in depth accounts are by far the book’s most shocking and disturbing moments. The absolute lack of compassion and sympathy shown by the Japanese toward their Chinese victims is comparable to any available story about how the Nazis treated the Jews in the WWII concentration camps. Chang’s horrors she accounts for includes stunning cases of murder, torture, beatings, rapes and defamation of bodies. The amount of detail Chang goes into to describe the horrors of Nanking are brutal and will take an emotional toll on the reader, as many of the vile acts performed by the Japanese require the reader to travel to the darkest, most uncomfortable regions of their minds to visualize the disgusting horrors Chang spells out on the pages of her book.

Through such terrible life loss and tragedy, the Japanese taking of Nanking allowed certain individuals to step up and act with valor. Most notable is German businessman John Rabe, who ironically was a high ranking member in the Nazi Party. Rabe was responsible for...
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