The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

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9780786180936: The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
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In December 1937, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred in the capital of China. The Japanese army swept into Nanking and not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured, and murdered half of the city’s remaining population, some 300,000 Chinese civilians. Amazingly, the account of this atrocity was denied by the Japanese government.

The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, that of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and finally, that 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 John Rabe, the tireless German leader of the rescue effort, whom Iris Chang called the “Oskar Schindler of China.”

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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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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780465068364: The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

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Chang, Iris
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