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Iris Chang The Rape of Nanking ISBN 13: 9780141007885

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In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered?a 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 what will surely be the definitive history of this horrifying episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and 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. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an unlikely hero whom Chang calls the "Oskar Schindler of China" and who worked tirelessly to protect the innocent and publicize the horror. More than just narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape of Nanking analyzes the militaristic culture that fostered in the Japanese soldiers a total disregard for human life. Finally, it tells the appalling story: about how the advent of the Cold War led to a concerted effort on the part of the West and even the Chinese to stifle open discussion of this atrocity. Indeed, Chang characterizes this conspiracy of silence, that persists to this day, as "a second rape."

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Review:
China has endured much hardship in its history, as Iris Chang shows in her ably researched The Rape of Nanking, a book that recounts the horrible events in that eastern Chinese city under Japanese occupation in the late 1930s. Nanking, she writes, served as a kind of laboratory in which Japanese soldiers were taught to slaughter unarmed, unresisting civilians, as they would later do throughout Asia. Likening their victims to insects and animals, the Japanese commanders orchestrated a campaign in which several hundred thousand--no one is sure just how many--Chinese soldiers and noncombatants alike were killed. Chang turns up an unlikely hero in German businessman John Rabe, a devoted member of the Nazi party who importuned Adolf Hitler to intervene and stop the slaughter, and who personally saved the lives of countless residents of Nanking. She also suggests that the Japanese government pay reparations and apologize for its army's horrific acts of 60 years ago.
About the Author:

Iris Chang was a journalism graduate of the University of Illinoisat Urbana, and she worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune before winning a graduate fellowship to the writing seminars program at Johns Hopkins University. Her first book, Thread of the Silkworm, the story of Tsien Hsue-shen, father of the People's Republic of China missile program, received worldwide critical acclaim. She was the recipient of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation's Program on Peace and International Cooperation Award and major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the Harry Truman Library.

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  • PublisherPenguin Books Ltd
  • Publication date2004
  • ISBN 10 0141007885
  • ISBN 13 9780141007885
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages304
  • Rating

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