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The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II Paperback – November 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0140277449 ISBN-10: 0140277447

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140277447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140277449
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (753 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA?The events in this book are horribly off-putting, which, paradoxically, is why they must be remembered. Chang tells of the Sino-Japanese War atrocities perpetrated by the invading Japanese army in Nanking in December 1937, in which roughly 350,000 soldiers and civilians were slaughtered in an eight-week period, many of them having been raped and/or tortured first. Not only are readers given many of the gory details?with pictures?but they are also told of the heroism of some members of a small foreign contingent, particularly of a Nazi businessman who resided in China for 30 years. The story of his bravery lends the ironic touch of someone with evil credentials doing good. Once the author finishes with the atrocities, she proceeds with the equally absorbing and much easier-to-take story of what happened to the Nazi businessman when he returned to Germany and the war ended. This by itself is material for a movie. The author tells why the Japanese government not only allowed the atrocities to occur but also refused, and continues to refuse, to acknowledge that they happened. She is quite evenhanded in reminding readers that every culture has some episode like this in its history; what makes this one important is the number of people killed and tortured, the sadism, and the ongoing Japanese denial of responsibility. Mature readers will look beyond the sensational acts of cruelty to ponder the horror of man's inhumanity to man and the examples of heroism in the midst of savagery.?Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Iris Chang lived and worked in California. She was a journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana and worked briefly as a reporter in Chicago before winning a graduate fellowship to the writing seminars program at The Johns Hopkins University. Her first book, Thread of the Silkworm (the story of Tsien Hsue-shen, father of the People's Republic of China's missile program) received world-wide critical acclaim. She is the recipient of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation's Program on Peace and International Cooperation award, as well as major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Pacific Cultural Foundation, and the Harry Truman Library. She passed away in 2004.

Customer Reviews

This is a difficult book to read, but one which is filled with important truths about what happened.
Barron Laycock
Chang could have been more objective, but after reading the book, it is hard to say anything positive about the Japanese behavior.
M. H. Bayliss
Excellent book concerning the crimes and atrocities committed against the Chinese in Nanking in 1937 by the Japanese army.
Harold Tucker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

940 of 1,010 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read through the book and I think it is a very nicely written one. One minor point is that it would be nicer to note in the text the references documents in the style of academic articles. That would be easier for readers who are interested in digging into the original documents themselves. Nonetheless, I think that this book gave a very clear view of one of the saddest event ever happened in human history in a way that can be understood by general public.
I strongly disagreed with one of the reader's review for criticizing this book as "ridiculous". The reasons for my disagreement are as followed:
1. Criticizing Point:
"Iris Chang is a fourth-Generation Chinese American. She does not speak or understand any of the languages needed to examine this issue (Chinese, Japanese and German). I have concluded that all information used in this book is second-hand information, most of them is propaganda."
First of all, there are a lot of first hand references written in English, as were listed in the book. In fact, one of the reasons that Nanking Massacre was known to the world was because quite a few Europeans and Americans happened to witness and documented the event. If the reviewer considered none of those documents are first-hand documents, I am not sure what the definition of "first-hand" information is. In addition, some of the documents are even reported by Japanese themselves. It is not reasonable to report something against their own country if it is not truth, especially during the war time.
Second, according to what the author stated in the book, the author is a second generation Chinese American (not a very important point here, but it implies the reviewer may not read the book clearly before jumping into conclusion).
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142 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Xiaogang Han on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Regardless of the discrepancies in numbers or the level of objectivity of Ms. Chang's work, the fact remains that the Japanese soldiers' atrocities against the Chinese DID happen". If a few Japanese claim the number is 200,000 instead of 300,000, it will make them feel better. It will make you deny the atrocities of Japanese soldier did to Chinese civilians. The truth is IT HAPPENED. There are a lot of thing you can't deny. You can't deny Japan aggression in WW II. No one invited Japanese soldier to enter China. Today, a few Japanese try to deny the Nanking massacre. Which massacre will be the next? Ping DingShan massacre? Liu Sun massacre? Or unit 731 biological weapon on live Chinese civilians? The unit 516 used the chemical weapon that had forbidden by international law before WW II. Even today, there are a lot chemical weapon in china abandoned by Japanese soldier after WW II. So the key point of a few Japanese is they want to act themselves as the victims of WW II because of the two nuclear bombs. They knew the truth. They might know the massacre more clearly than us so they are eager to deny because they fear the truth, they fear when the bottle is open, they can't keep their "noble" any more. The history is history. IT HAPPENED, no one has right to change it. FACE it. Act as a true man like the Germany government did after WW II. DON'T act as coward hiding in the shadow counts number by using your finger and mutter you just killed four people instead of five. FACE IT and ask for forgive from Asian People due to Japanese soldier did in WW II. If not, I have to say, the Japanese DID deserve the two nuclear bombs.
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213 of 225 people found the following review helpful By Y. ren on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read the book and was greatly shocked and moved by the author's nice work. But very sadly to hear that she passed by a few days ago. May her stay in peace forever in the heaven.

First, I would like to emphasize that the slaughter in Nanjing is a unforgivable, unforgetable, actual history for everyone who have justice. I am from Nanjing which is a city bear a tragic history. When I was in the high school, I took part in an activity which was to search for the witness of slaughter in Nanjing. When those old people shows their scar to us, telling the true story of themselves, almost all of us felt a kind of heartquake. We took some pictures and recorded the words of those old people. When they recalled the memory of those sad periods, they can't bear their angrys and pains. Maybe some of them have already passed by, but every evidences have been saved. If anyone is interested in these first hand material, you can visit the Nanjing in China. There is a memorial museum in Nanjing. You will find out the truth of history there by yourself.

Secondly, I am also greaty scared by some reviewer's irresponsible words here. I am not to blame them. But I wish they can bravely face the truth of history, face the crime of their ancestors,and correct them bravely.

Thirdly, the world is becoming more dangers today. There are more and more weapons build out every year. The earth already can be destory for thouands of times. I love peace, you must love peace too. So we must to settle the conflicts among countries and people by civilized methods. It is a responsiblity for all of us, no matter where you are from and who you are.

Finally, Only people can save people.
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