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Wild Swans - Jung Chang

The life stories of Jung & her mother & grandmother. Along the way I learned quite a bit about China under Mao as well. The book is told chronologically. The first story is about how Jungs grandmother had no choice in being a concubine to a Chinese general. The "marriage" was arranged so that her grandmothers father would have more privileges of his own. Jungs mother was born from this union. Next, we learn of her mothers life growing up under Japanese occupation in Manchuria, & then after the Japanese surrender, the fight between the Kuomintang & the Communists for power in China. Jungs parents become Communist officials who very much believe in the Communist ideals. Their "faith" is eventually shattered by Maos thirst for power and his "Cultural Revolution." Although her parents were still receiving their salaries from the government, they were also being detained or being made to go to denunciation meetings where they were yelled at and/or beaten. The Red Guard & the Rebels were encouraged to rise up against the old Communist officials & take control. Even young children were encouraged to beat up their teachers. School days consisted of reading Maos works, punishing anyone who was a "class enemy", & tearing up the grass & flowers in the courtyards as they were too "decadent." As Jung grows up, she is at first enamored with Mao, but is eventually disillusioned with what has happened to her family & to herself. She is a bright young woman who is required several times to be "reeducated" by the peasants or factory workers. After Mao dies, eventually China changes for the better. She is able to go to the West and study, but she never permanently returns to China.

Paperback, 1991, 696pages, good condition, light wear and crease in cover

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  • Seller location: North Shore, Auckland, NZ

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