In Wild Swans Jung Chang recounts the evocative, unsettling, and insistently gripping story of how three generations of women in her family fared in the political maelstrom of China during the 20th century. 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. From Goodreads.
This is a hard book to read as it is quite depressing. Jung Chang is telling the story of the life of her grandmother, her mother and herself from 1909 to 1977 in a ever changing China. It seems a lot of changes happened all the time and even under Mao's regime people could be privileged one day and beaten, tortured and shunned the next. Both her grandmother and mother were very strong and courageous women and there were probably a lot like them. This is still the story from a somewhat privileged point of view and we get glimpses of how much worse life is like for the peasants and farmers.
A very personal and strong book.
This book qualifies for:
2013 A-Z Reading Challenge
2013 Ebook Challenge
2013 Women Challenge
TEA & BOOKS Reading Challenge 2013 (660 pages)
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge
Tower Teams Read 2013
2013 Mammoth Book Challenge (660 pages)
2013 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge (Non Fiction)
Let Me Count the Ways Reading Challenge 2013 (660 pages)
Serious Readers 2013