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16 Reviews
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Really Liked this book!
I had to read this book for a core class in college and I thought that I would have hated it. Actually, I really liked it. It told of a Chinese working woman's life. It even gives the reader an insight into her lifestyle and her struggles during this tumuluous time in history. The story even touches on the japanese invasion. I didn't think this biography would be...
Published on May 16, 2003 by ml320chula

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars For school
Had to read it for school. Easy to read but slightly boring at times. The poor woman with such a tough life.
Published 17 months ago by Jason T. Scroggins


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Really Liked this book!, May 16, 2003
This review is from: A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Paperback)
I had to read this book for a core class in college and I thought that I would have hated it. Actually, I really liked it. It told of a Chinese working woman's life. It even gives the reader an insight into her lifestyle and her struggles during this tumuluous time in history. The story even touches on the japanese invasion. I didn't think this biography would be interesting but it was. I would recommended this book to anyone. It is a light read and it is very interesting.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars life of one Chinese woman, August 21, 2002
This review is from: A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Paperback)
Ida Pruitt's biography of Ning Lao T'ai-t'ai (literally "old lady Ning"), a peasant woman of northeast China born in 1867, is a fascinating anecdotal retelling of Ning's personal history as she related it to the author over the course of their two year long friendship. The storyline of Ning's life: childhood, marriage, work, and children, is laid out in a chronological history, broken into separate sections at particular turning points; and yet a cohesive theme of hardship, oppression and poverty, of strong-willed women and weak men is carried throughout not only Ning's tales but also through the stories she relates of her ancestors and neighbors.
Pruitt writes in the voice of Ning as if she is translating, but what she is really doing is recalling Ning's stories of her life in the first half of the 20th century. Ning was born into an educated middle class family which had fallen on harder times. Her father wants a better situation for her marriage, but the older husband he choses for her becomes addicted to opium driving the family into poverty. To survive and feed her children Ning must become first a beggar, then a servant to various households: military, Muslim, bureaucrat, and finally to Christian missionaries. And Ning's voice does come across clearly; speaking against concubinage and prostitution, about the penury of employers, the need to support and keep family together.
By using a first person retelling of the stories Pruitt gives the impresssion of accuracy, yet there were 7 years between the conversations with Ning and the writing of the book. Also the apparent bias against Japanese in prologue and last chapter together with the pub. date of the book indicate a hidden agenda on the part of the author. Still, although limited to the view of this one woman's experience, Ning's story is reflective of the hardships of life for Chinese women before the Communist era.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare look at life at the turn of the century in China, December 7, 2006
This review is from: A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Paperback)
China always seems to have a veil of mystery around it. This book give a rare glimpse of life at the turn of the 19th century as the empire was dying and the nationalists and communists were gearing up for battle. I read this book for a class on Chinese women and absolutely loved it. I will always remember the part of having her feet bound and how her mother would lay on her legs at night so that she could sleep. Unfortunately I lost the book after many years. It wasn't until now, as I was conducting inventory of our biography collection at the library where I work, that I came across the sequal to this book. For those who could not get enough of Lao Tai-tai, there is a second book by Ida Pruitt titled "Old Madam Yin: a memoir of Peking life 1926-1938." The copyright date is 1979. The Daughter of Han is now a wealthy widow struggling to adapt to the new order. If you can't find it on amazon you can always Inter-library loan the book, I know there's at least one library in the midwest that has it ;).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping personal story and historical testimony, December 8, 2010
By 
Lena "le934" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Gives a rare insight into the lives of ordinary Chinese women at the end of the imperial, beginning of the republican, era. Gripping account of the suffering the traditional Chinese family customs imposed on its members, its women in particular, and how ingrained notions of parental authority and son preference was even among those who had to bear the cost of these values.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life in China, with no advantages other than fortitude, December 20, 2013
By 
Marco Buendia (Sludge, Louisiana) - See all my reviews
A plain Chinese woman tells a missionary the story of her life. All work, suffering grandees and an opium sot for a husband who sold their daughter into slavery. Along the way, some of the finest folklore in print.

This is an excellent portrait of Chinese life in the period prior to Sun-Yat Sen's reforms.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For school, June 21, 2013
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Had to read it for school. Easy to read but slightly boring at times. The poor woman with such a tough life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, April 30, 2013
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A very insightful book into the peasant life of a chinese woman. It's often difficult to find biographies of people who weren't nobility or otherwise famous in history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, April 13, 2013
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This is one of the most interesting book about Chinese history in English that I have ever read and the book is in good condition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman, February 9, 2013
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Nancy's Den (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Paperback)
I was interested in Chinese history and culture because my Mother is full blooded Chinese, and I found this book to be helpful, its a great reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Needed for a college course, December 26, 2012
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Makes me glad to be an American; can appreciate much more about Chinese treatment of women and how difficult their lives can be.
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A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman
A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman by Lao TAi-TAi Ning (Paperback - June 1, 1967)
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