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

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Overview


In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers 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 the definitive history of this horrifying episode.
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The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II

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Overview


In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers 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 the definitive history of this horrifying episode.
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Editorial Reviews

Adam Hochschild
Colonial Williamsburg, the meticulous restoration of a Virginia village of several centuries ago, was built in the 1930s. For several decades, tens of millions of tourists enjoyed the spinning wheels, the working blacksmith's and cobbler's shops, the guides in period costumes. But it was not until after 1970 that a visitor could easily learn a crucial fact: Half the population of the original Williamsburg were slaves. Today you can see slave quarters and other exhibits showing what the daily life of slaves was like.

Some horrendous outbursts of cruelty, like slavery, endure for centuries; some are over in a few hours or weeks. But all of them raise two questions. First, what makes human beings capable of mass savagery? Second, what makes great acts of violence remembered or forgotten -- or, as in Williamsburg, officially forgotten for a long time and then abruptly remembered?

Both questions are raised by Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking. The 29-year-old Chang published the book in late 1997, then unexpectedly saw it give birth to a storm of praise, denunciations and controversy that still continues. A paperback edition of the book has just appeared.

In brief, the book is the story of the almost unbelievable orgy of violence unleashed over several months by the Japanese army after it occupied Nanking, the capital of Nationalist China, in December 1937. There is dispute about the death toll, but most serious scholars place it in the hundreds of thousands. Chinese men were forced at gunpoint to rape their mothers and daughters. Japanese soldiers gang-raped women by the tens of thousands. They nailed women to trees. They drove stakes through their vaginas. They bound the hands of Chinese men, lined them up in long rows, and machine-gunned them into huge burial ditches. They bayoneted babies in front of their mothers. They buried people alive. Soldiers had "killing contests" and boasted to Japanese reporters of their scores. Some of the carnage was recorded on film. An American missionary (the United States was not yet at war with Japan) took movies, and a colleague smuggled the footage out of the country sewn in his coat lining. Japanese soldiers took still photos, then brought their film for developing to Chinese photo shops where horrified employees, at great risk, surreptitiously made extra prints.

Chang vividly, methodically, records what happened, piecing together the abundant eyewitness reports into an undeniable tapestry of horror. Driven mainly by an understandable outrage, she does not do such a good job of analyzing why the Japanese acted with such extraordinary sadism -- not just in Nanking, incidentally, but in so many other places they conquered as well. Although, in fairness, perhaps not even the greatest of philosophers can fully explain the gas chambers at Auschwitz or the spectacle of a Japanese soldier tying a man to a tree and using him for bayonet practice, while other soldiers watch, laugh and take pictures.

The Nanking atrocities were well publicized throughout the world at the time, and are usually mentioned in the standard Western histories of World War II. But along with wartime Japan's other vast, wanton sprees of murder, rape and looting, it has drawn far less attention in recent years than the Holocaust, Stalin's gulag and other mass murders of our day. The Rape of Nanking is the first book on the subject in English in more than 50 years. Many Japanese still deny that so much blood was shed. Six conservative historians held a Tokyo press conference to denounce Chang, and the Japanese ambassador to the United States, Kunihiko Saito, criticized the book as "full of errors, biased and a one-sided view." Imagine the uproar if a German ambassador had denounced Schindler's List as "one-sided."

The most unexpected part of Chang's story, and the reaction to it, has to do with the curious politics of memory and forgetting. In contrast to the extensive war crimes trials in Europe, begun by the Allies and later continued by the Germans themselves, trials in Japan were few and finished very quickly. Confiscated Japanese military records, a potential gold mine of information for war crimes and much else, were returned to Japan by the United States in the 1950s without even being fully copied. The U.S. saw the economic powerhouse of Japan as its key anti-Communist ally in Asia, and, throughout the Cold War, made no effort to force Japan to come to terms with its actions during World War II.

Furthermore, both Nationalist and Communist China, competing for Japanese trade and favor, have been reluctant to press the issue of Nanking and war crimes. Japan is the largest aid donor in the world. Most of that aid goes to Asia; Japan has loaned Beijing many billions of dollars on favorable terms. Although the memory of the rape of Nanking remains very much alive in the city (today known as Nanjing), it was not until 1985 that the government permitted a museum of the atrocities to be built there, and it has repeatedly prohibited demonstrations against visiting Japanese.

Not only did Chang's book become a bestseller, it has been the inspiration for several conferences, a TV documentary, a museum now on the drawing boards in Los Angeles and a planned Hollywood film. If she had written it 20 or 30 years ago, most likely none of this would have happened. What made the difference? Two things above all: the end of the Cold War, and the rising influence, and number, of Americans of Chinese descent. Many of them, like Iris Chang, grew up hearing the stories of events like Nanking, and want to see that history on paper at last.

Publicly remembering painful parts of the past is always a political act, and almost always takes place against enormous obstacles. Those obstacles do not just concern distant places like China and Japan. If Rosa Parks had not sat down in the front of the bus, if Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of others had not marched and endured beatings and jail, Colonial Williamsburg would still display no slave quarters today.
Salon

Iris Chang
Denial is an integral part of atrocity, and it's a natural part after a society has committed genocide. First you kill, and then the memory of killing is killed....I want the Japanese people to know the truth....I want them to know a side of history that isn't properly taught in school. Like it or not, this is a part of their history.
The New York Times
Chicago Tribune
A powerful new work of history and moral inquiry.
Newsweek
[An] unflinching re-examination of one of the most horrifying chapters of the Second World War.
Library Journal
Even though the Japanese government still refuses to acknowledge the massacre of at least 250,000 Chinese civilians by invading Japanese troops in 1937, freelance writer Chang (the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Associated Press) has exposed in detail the full, terrible account of what happened to the war-torn capital of Nanking. Chang, whose grandparents survived the brutality, first establishes Japan's social hierarchy by martial competition, then shows how the city of Nanking fell, the six weeks of horror following, and the Nanking safety zone created by Americans and Europeans. The book goes on to depict the city's occupation, the judgment day for Japanese war criminals, the cover-up perpetrated by Japanese textbooks, and Japan's self-imposed censorship. -- Steven Lin, American Samoa Community College Library
Library Journal
Even though the Japanese government still refuses to acknowledge the massacre of at least 250,000 Chinese civilians by invading Japanese troops in 1937, freelance writer Chang (the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Associated Press) has exposed in detail the full, terrible account of what happened to the war-torn capital of Nanking. Chang, whose grandparents survived the brutality, first establishes Japan's social hierarchy by martial competition, then shows how the city of Nanking fell, the six weeks of horror following, and the Nanking safety zone created by Americans and Europeans. The book goes on to depict the city's occupation, the judgment day for Japanese war criminals, the cover-up perpetrated by Japanese textbooks, and Japan's self-imposed censorship. -- Steven Lin, American Samoa Community College Library
School Library Journal
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....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, Viriginia

Orville Schell
Iris Chang, whose own gransparents were survivors, recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage.
The New York Times Book Review
Jacob Heilbrunn
Iris Chang offers the first comprehensive examination of the destruction of this Chinese imperial city...Ms. Chang has skillfully excavated from oblivion the terrible events that took place during the Sino-Japanese War that preceded World War II itself.
The Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465068364
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 71,009
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Iris Chang graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked briefly as a reporter before winning a graduate fellowship to the writing seminars program at the Johns Hopkins University. She received numerous honors including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Program on Peace and International Cooperation Award, the Woman of the Year Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, and honorary doctorates from the College of Wooster and California State University at Hayward. Her work appeared in many publications, including Newsweek, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She died in 2004.
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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
The Rape of Nanking

Once encircled by an ancient, immense stone wall built during the Ming dynasty, Nanking was a city of imperial palaces and lavish tombs. Temples perched on the surrounding mountains and lotus blossoms studded its lakes. In the summer of 1937, relics of the old Nanking mingled—and clashed—with the new Nanking. Automobiles sped past rickasha pullers and an occasional water buffalo or camel wandered into the street. People escaped their sweltering houses by spending their evenings in the open air chatting with neighbors. No one could know that these lazy summer nights would usher in six weeks of terror, and that the majestic Yangtzee River would soon run red with blood.

"If the dead from Nanking were to link hands, they would stretch from Nanking to the city of Hangchow, spanning a distance of some two hundred miles. Their blood would weigh twelve hundred tons, and their bodies would fill twenty-five hundred railroad cars. Stacked on top of each other, these bodies would reach the height of a seventy-four-story building."—from the Introduction of The Rape of Nanking

In December of 1937, the Japanese army swept into Nanking and left a trail of carnage surreal in its horror. The death toll was staggering, far exceeding that of the American raids on Tokyo (an estimated 80,000-120,0000) and even the combined death toll of the two atomic blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the end of 1945 (estimated at 140,000 and 70,000 respectively). If not just for the numbers of dead, the Rape of Nanking should be remembered for the cruel manner in which most of its victims met their end. Japanese soldiers used Chinese men for bayonet practice and often engaged in killing competitions. Some victims were buried alive, others were buried up to their waists and then torn to pieces by German Shepherds. It is believed that between 20,000-80,000 Chinese women were raped; fathers were forced to rape their daughters, and sons were forced to rape their mothers. It seems that the hearts of the Japanese soldiers had decomposed completely—no act was too evil to commit.

While the Rape of Nanking represents one of the worst instances of mass extermination in the annals of world history it is also one of the most obscure. In the United States, only a scant few World War II textbooks mention the Nanking slaughter, and almost none of the "definitive" World War II histories include the episode. The Japanese, in addition to editing any reference to the massacre out of their school curriculum, have aggressively campaigned to prevent the Nanking atrocities from becoming common knowledge. In her courageous and important book, Iris Chang both chronicles the massacre of this once proud, imperial capital city, and exposes the historical amnesia that she astutely characterizes as a second rape.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."—George Santayana

While most of us are painfully aware of the frailty of human life, many of us display tremendous naiveté about the tissue thin nature of civilization. The Rape of Nanking is, indeed, a desperate attempt to salvage the memory of the countless souls lost in that bloodbath, but it is also a cautionary tale for anyone lulled into a false sense of national security. The question lurking between the lines of every page of this book is: can we prevent the reoccurrence of such unchecked cruelty? The first step, says Iris Chang, is exploring the darkest days and nights of world history. By doing this we will learn that no one nation is unique in its capacity for savageness—hence the atrocities of Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and the Holocaust. A mere tear in veneer of society—even our own—can give way to episodes of unparalleled barbarity.

Only by remembering can we glean lessons from these massacres—and the one that befell Nanking nearly sixty years ago. And if memory lies at the root of forgiveness, than the victims of the Rape of Nanking have only just begun their journey toward healing.


ABOUT IRIS CHANG

Iris Chang, a full time author living in California, heard stories about the Rape of Nanking from her parents, who survived years of war and revolution before finding a serene home as professors in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. A journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana, she 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 worldwide 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 is 30 years old.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW
An interview with Iris Chang

How did you become interested in the subject of the Rape of Nanking? What made you decide to write this book?

My grandparents lived in Nanking before the massacre, and they almost separated forever during the chaos and mass evacuations from the city in November 1937. That they were able to find each other again was a miracle.

The Rape of Nanking intrigued me at a very young age. My parents told me stories about the Nanking atrocities when I was a little girl—how the massacre was so bad that it left the surface of the Yangtze River literally covered with bodies and blood. This was something I found hard to believe at the time, and as a child I searched the local libraries for an English-language book on the Nanking massacre and found nothing. Eventually, what goaded me to write the book was a December 1994 conference on the Rape of Nanking, organized in Cupertino California, by the Global Alliance for Preserving the Truth of the Sino-Japanese war. I remember being in the conference hall, staring at photos of decapitated bodies and women who had been horribly mutilated after rape. I walked around for an entire day in a state of shock. Later, I resolved to do my part to give these victims their proper place in history.

While researching this book, did you find that you were able to separate yourself from the horrible stories that you uncovered or were you very personally affected by what you learned? How did you cope with the stress of living with this tragedy on a daily basis?

I found it almost impossible to separate myself from the tragedy. The stress of writing this book and living with this horror on a daily basis caused my weight to plummet and my hair to fall out.

I understand that you went to China in 1995 to talk to many of the survivors. What was the hardest thing about interviewing them?

Trying to decide which stories to put in my book and what to leave out. Each and every story was important to me, because each represented a unique and precious life extinguished forever by the Japanese. But to have included every atrocity I heard or read from the Nanking massacre would have lengthened my book to thousands of pages.

How did the Chinese survivors of the Rape of Nanking react to your interest in the topic? Were they at all suspicious of your motives?

Suspicious? Not at all. Every single survivor I met was desperately anxious to tell his or her story. I spent several hours with each one, getting the details of their experiences on videotape. Some became overwrought with emotion during the interviews and broke down into tears. But all of them wanted the opportunity to talk about the massacre before their deaths.

Why do so few people in the U.S. know about the Rape of Nanking today?

The Cold war led to a concerted effort on the part of the West and even the Chinese to court the loyalty of Japan and stifle open discussion of this atrocity. To me, this is nothing more than a second rape.

Few people realize that the United States were co-conspirators in a secret deal with the Japanese that sold out the Chinese victims and even American veterans of World War II. During the war, Japanese doctors performed live medical experiments and even vivisection on American and Chinese POWs, but after 1945 the United States government not only failed to punish these doctors but exonerated them in exchange for their medical data. The American government also exempted the Japanese royal family from war crimes trials, permitted Emperor Hirohito to stay on the throne and even encouraged many officials of the Japanese wartime government to return to power. And in a move that shocked and baffled scholars to this day, the U.S. in the 1950s also returned to Japan secret military documents seized in 1945 by American occupation forces—but without properly microfilming them first.

One of the greatest ironies of the Rape of Nanking is that not only have the Japanese squelched efforts to heal the victims of the massacre, but the Chinese government has also strongly discouraged any protest against the atrocities committed at Nanking. Has this changed at all since the publication of your book?

I think it has. For one thing, the Chinese government itself has jumped to my defense whenever I came under serious attack from Japanese revisionists. The PRC issued scathing a letter of protest to the international press when a group of conservative Japanese academics not only called my book "the most outrageous, world-class lie" but denied that the Rape of Nanking even happened. China also blasted the Japanese government when the Japanese ambassador to the United States denounced my book as "erroneous," "one-sided" and filled with historical inaccuracies — an allegation that the ambassador was not able to support with a single good example, even when grilled by reporters.

Do you think that we should be scrutinizing more closely the methods by which our own servicemen are inaugurated into a military culture constructed to protect our national interest at any cost? Is it necessary to dehumanize a soldier before sending him or her into the arena of war? Where do we draw the line?

We should be on our guard to avoid cultivating a military culture that would dehumanize both its own soldiers and the people of an enemy nation. One reason why Japanese soldiers found it so easy to commit atrocities is that they were brought up in a military environment that held in contempt ALL human life, even their own. But there are clear, established laws of war — laws set by the Hague Convention of 1907 and ostensibly recognized by most civilized nations — and every American serviceman should be thoroughly drilled in these laws before they are sent into the line of fire.

Are you surprised by the success of THE RAPE OF NANKING? Why or why not?

To say I was surprised is an understatement. I was flabbergasted! My greatest hope for The Rape of Nanking was to see it in libraries, so the Nanking massacre would not be forgotten by future generations. Instead, it became an international bestseller, remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for five months. All at once I found myself lecturing in auditoriums packed with thousands of readers, or discussing the Nanking massacre on shows like Good Morning America, Nightline and Jim Lehrer. All at once I found myself profiled in the New York Times, and featured on the cover of Reader's Digest. The entire experience has been like a dream.

For a scholarly nonfiction book to receive this kind of attention and sales is phenomenal. Most serious history books don't have a wide audience. (For instance, I doubt my first book, Thread of the Silkworm, sold ten thousand copies.) But The Rape of Nanking isn't just about history, but justice. That's why it was successful — it struck the deep vein of moral outrage in this country.

Are you working on another book? What is it about?

My next book will be a narrative epic history of the Chinese in America.


PRAISE

"The first comprehensive examination of the destruction of this Chinese imperial city... Ms. Chang, whose grandparents narrowly escaped the carnage, has skillfully excavated from oblivion the terrible events that took place."

—The Wall Street Journal

"[An] unflinching reexamination of one of the most horrifying chapters of the second world war."

—Newsweek

"A powerful new work of history and moral inquiry. Chang takes great care to establish an accurate accounting of the dimensions of the violence."

—Chicago Tribune

"A compelling account of a horrendous episode that, until recently, has been largely forgotten."

—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Iris Chang... recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage."

—The New York Times Book Review

"Stomach-turning, tear-wrenching, thoroughly riveting."

—The Baltimore Sun


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Throughout The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang emphasizes that by not remembering the past, we become victims of it. What do you think she means by this? Other than the Rape of Nanking, can you think of any profound injustices that have gone unnoticed in the world—and that as a result have become even more sinister and dangerous? How about in your own country—or even in your own city?
  2. If remembering is the first step to repairing the damage incurred by a holocaust, what do you think might be the second? The third? Is there ever a time for forgiving and at least attempting to forget wounds of war?
  3. It is true that one of the most distressing facets of the Rape of Nanking—and in our own day the Yugoslavian conflict and the Rwandan massacre—is the manner in which the people of the world became merely passive spectators. And as the death toll climb once again in Kosovo, one senses that history will, no doubt, repeat itself. What is America's responsibility to the civilians caught in the crossfire of these civil wars? Do you think the United Nations has the capacity to cope appropriately with these conflicts?
  4. How has the media portrayed these conflicts to the rest of the world, and how have you and your family reacted to having visuals of them brought into your home? Do you think that the extensive media coverage of war encourages interest in world events or contributes to the numbing of our conscious?
  5. Do you think that a holocaust could occur on American soil? Why or why not? What type of protection against such events does the United States government offer to its citizens? Are these checks and balances sufficient?
  6. The epilogue of the book discusses steps being taken by the U.S. government to heighten awareness of the Rape of Nanking, including plans by the San Francisco school district to include the Rape of Nanking in its curriculum. How might you discuss the Rape of Nanking with your children? What are some ways that you could foster in your children an interest in world events? At what age do you think that this type of education is appropriate?
  7. One of the most peculiar aspects of the Rape of Nanking was the presence of John Rabe, the Nazi official who risked his life to save the Chinese from the marauding Japanese soldiers. Were you able to reconcile his heroism with his adulation for Hitler? How?
  8. The Rape of Nanking illustrates the absolute depths of war—a place where humans become inhuman. Is it possible to prevent these episodes, or are they an unavoidable component of war—one that will exist as long as nations exist?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 84 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A 5 Star Book

    I have become more stingy in how I rate books. 3 Stars is a good book and 4 better than average. To get a 5 Star rating a book has to have exceeded all expectations. "The Rape Of Nanking" does that. I was aware of the Rape of Nanking but did not realize the scope of this incredibly horrible event in history. Iris Chang did a wonderful job in bringing it to light. Perhaps one of the strongest parts of this book were a few of the people who risked their lives to save others. Hollywood is missing a best picture winner if someone doesn't make a movie about John Rabe (a nazi no less!) or Minnie Vautrin among others. While I highly recommend this book I must also warn any potential readers that this book is highly disturbing. You will likely find yourself fluctuating between being incredibly saddened and very enraged. If you know little or nothing about this event please do yourself a favor and pick up this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful, A must read

    I began familiar with Iris Chang after reading about her through The Writer's Almanac. If you love history you will instantly become entranced in the story of how the Japanese
    invaded NanKing. But you will become horrified at how this group of soldiers took liberties with the men, women and children of NanKing, China. Chang is an excellent writer who tells the story from several perspectives and it's amazing the Japanese were able to get away with what they did. It is a story much like Nazi Germany and their
    torture of Jews except on a smaller scale. However, the Japanese were far more brutal in their methods. This is a shocking, explicit book and not for the faint of heart.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    AP World History Review

    My impression of this book was that it was very factual, however gory it was. It was a disturbingly detailed account of the Rape of Nanking. I had never heard about this event, as most people haven't, and it was shocking to learn about such a frightening genocide. I felt as if this event had been completely under-publicized. I liked this book, because it not only told you of the events, but it was written with a passionate purpose. The author was upset that there had not been any kind of retribution to the Japaneese for their acts or repentance from them.

    Since there aren't many accounts of information available to the public about this event, i believe Iris Chang wrote this for all it's victims. She wanted the public to know about this event, because she felt it had been kept under the radar. (Which is a very innapropriate place for so brutal an event.) I believed the author did a wonderful job completing her purpose. Becasue she wrote this book, the rape of Nanking has been brought to light to more than people than before. I would definitely recommend this book to someone that has not heard of the rape of Nanking becasue it is an event that deserves to be heard.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    AP WORLD HISTORY BOOK REVIEW

    Iris Changs book, The Rape of Nanking, was very informative and she displays her research accordingly. It can be easily unerstood, but it also goes into great detail. As stated before, this book I would definently not recommend for the younger adults, or anyone who does have a weak stomach. She goes into great detail about the different tactics used to abuse or molest the Chinese citizens of not only Nanking, but all of China. They showed no mercy. No matter what the age, the abusive tortures were all the same.

    As for the history, she displays it very well, being it is from three different perspectives; The Japanese soldiers, the Chinese, and Westerners. She doesn't display any biased opinion throughout her book, other than those of the three perspectives. As the book progresses, she tells the perspectives of each group, the Japanese being the first, the chinese being second, and westerners being last. Overall, it was a very moving and informative book. It gives you an idea on what was valued to each ethnic group, whether it be money, tradition, or connection with the outside world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006

    atrocity and war

    The book is must read. every war there is some degree of atrocity...if one like it or not ..., such is the war-even today, in the Gulf region or any other war torn region for that matter, the struggle still goes on..... To the Japanese reader and to the Kat S, who posted review here... your point is well taken but you misplaced youopinion as to review of this book. The point author was making as I understand it is not to expose atroicity but rather to urge reponsibility of the act comitted. As author has suggested, the shindler of China nanjing if you will, were German and Hittler admirer if you comitted a crime or atrocity in this case, one must accept his wrong doing and try to repent or at the least acknowlege the incident. (but)this is something the Japanese Government nor some of Japanese are still refuse to do. Why? is it the only crime war time Japanese committed against other culture and people of other national orgin? The answer is definately not, of course ther are other crimially insane acts comitted by other nation thru out history. the differences however between German and other nations versus that of Japan is German admitted its wrong doing and made in to law todo so as such is crime, where as Japanese is in denial and still refuses to do.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2005

    A Necessary Read!

    I would like to say that everyone should read this book. It is a part of history, a part of what will never be told. At the same time not everyone can handle what was done to the people of Nanking. I can't even say that the Holocaust was the horrible genocide of our century after reading this. So many don't know about what happened. Why? We as humans, as people should know what is going on in this world at all times and make it a point to never have anything like this happen again. This book in NO way is for children, pre-teens or anyone who cannot handle violent rape, torture or murder that is graphically told & imaged. God bless Iris Chang(author), who died of a self inflicted gun shot wound. Thank you for letting the world in on a horror that would otherwise have been silent to us all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Crazy

    I can understand now how the japanese tortured the chinese in NanKing. And they got away just like they did in Shanghai. Now I know why my grandparents hate them so much. And they still havent apoligized to the chinese for their insane acts. My grandparents had to evacuate when the japanese stormed into Shanghai. THIS EVENT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    Propaganda

    This book contains a great deal of historical fact, however, it is really nothing more than an anti-Japanese diatribe. Ms. Chang would have better served her purpose had she remained neutral, or asked someone else to take her research and write the book.

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    AP World History Review: a description of your opinion of the book.

    Iris Chang's documentation of the atrocities suffered by the Chinese people of Nanking at the hands of the Japanese helps to show just how deadly the world is. The book is rather graphic, but it needs to be in order to truly show just how beastly the events were that took place. While Chang does seem rather biased against the Japanese, it still is a rather thorough description of what happened in December 1938. With over 80,000 women raped and 300,000 people killed, it is impossible to illustrate this part of history without being graphic, so it is understandable that Chang would hold no punches.
    The book gives insight into what happened, the reaction to it (especially that of the Western world), and an explanation of what might have happened. Chang wrote bluntly in her book, and this helps to reinforce her point. The book is a very well-written, informative read on something that should be common knowledge to people. It is easy to recommend, so long as the reader has the stomach for it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    The men and women in these pages are either demoniacally despicable, or among the bravest in the 20th century, if not ever. Although this book started a firestorm of controversy, it showed the defensiveness towards which the Japanese still hold all these years after the Nanking Massacre. It is remarkable to read since Ms. Chang's unfortunate death, by her own hand, as their is so much clarity and depth into the human psyche and as she put the 'an examination of the shadow self of mankind.' The Japanese, in these pages, do not come off as the cosmopolitan connoseuirs of commerce they have been attributed to in the last 30 years. In fact, their strategical alignments were at amateurish at best, and the repulsiveness of their Nanking 'campaign' enlisted a blood-lust of violence and viciousness which for its spasmodic orgy, might be unequaled. Thank you to Ms. Chang for clearing the dialogue.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2004

    An Amazing, Eye-Opening Read for every American!

    When I read this book, I read each word with tears in my eyes and a scream in my throat. The sadness, anger, and shame I felt after reading this book made me want to hold every person who suffered during the occupation of Naking. I wanted to comfort them in a way the world has yet to do. Ms. Chang's book has finally given these forgotten holocaust members a voice, and frankly, I believe that this holocaust should now be the one in the spotlight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    Okay

    Repetitive

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    Interesting read

    I've read several books about battles during WWII, but found the Rape of Nanking was a subject often just skimmed over in passing. I was interested to delve into what really happened there, and this book gave a very good background as to why the world ignored it, and what atrocities took place. I felt like the author started getting a little redundant toward the end of the book, but overall it was a very interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    The Rape on Nanking is a fantastic book!

    Certainly one of the best books ever written about Japan's imperial idealism and overall plan for humanity. An excellent reference for any student of history. A must read-own!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Amazing

    Amazing book about brutality

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    TO MASON

    That is because the Holocast really was. Seriously read any book on the subject and I think you will agree.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Jale

    Suckes on ur pu$$y

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    The man

    He humpedher reallu hard

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2012

    Earnest and valuable, but flawed

    This is the kind of book you don't want to criticize. It exposes an episode of almost indescribable brutality, that's difficult to read and must have been even more difficult to research and write. The hell for the residents of Nanking leaves the reader shocked and numb after a while. So much of WWII history, at least in America, is focused on the Nazis and the Holocaust that the horrors of the war in Asia get short shrift, reflecting the undercurrent of racism that pervades US mainstream history. Iris Chang's contribution is essential, and that it's part of a sadly small body of history makes it all the more necessary. That Chang committed suicide, apparently to some degree by being so affected by this story, makes it all the more poignant, and all the more difficult to deal with the book's weaknesses. However they're there, at least three major gaps. First, she doesn't really document her sources. Atrocities are notoriously difficult to accurately document; even much of the European Holocaust history involves guesswork. But it would have helped the book, and help silence the doubters and naysayers, to footnote where possible. Second, Chang was a good journalist, but a poor historian. The lack of historical context in her book is striking. She makes little effort to describe the background behind the Japanese invasion, and is glaringly ignorant of the conflict between the Communists and the Nationalists, who gave the brunt of the fighting against the Japanese to the Red Army and spent more effort dealing with the warlords for power. And third, she gives a lot of space to the attempts by Westerners, including Nazi agents in China, to protest the brutality, but the irony of having a supposedly positive role played by a Nazi agent close enough to have the ear of the Nazi high command in Germany gets no examination. It's a valuable, earnest, moving book, but the rape of Nanking still sadly awaits a more serious historical treatment.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Powerful and unforgetable

    A horrific example of the brutality that was the imperial japanese army. A must read for those interested in the events leading up to the war in the pacific.

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