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

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

by Iris Chang
4.1 88

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The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465068364
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 01/10/2012
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 134,348
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About 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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The Rape Of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust Of World War II 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Zor-El More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
L.A.Carlson-writer More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
APWORLDisHARD More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
WorldReader1111 4 months ago
This is, I believe, an invaluable document. From a purely literary standpoint, 'Nanking' is functional and easy to read, with logical formatting and an appropriate, straightforward narrative. Also, the text is comprehensively researched, drawing primarily from firsthand testimony of the events in question, as well as from multiple sources and orientations; consequently, the accounts are as accurate as could be expected of a written report, while presenting a well-rounded, unbiased overview of the incident. Furthermore, the author writes with a marked neutrality, even when discussing some of the most extreme incidents, and even when expressing her own opinions; combined with the book's general integrity, the author's objectivity adds greatly to the book's overall substance. As a result, 'Nanking' is successful in its aim of presenting a thorough, meaningful dissection of the Nanking offensive and its complex context and motivations. However, what truly sets the book apart is its value as a human study. Collectively, lessons abound, from the moral to the sociological, to the psychological and beyond (reading of such terrific actions, I couldn't help but ponder spiritual matters); over the course of the book, we run the gamut of age-old philosophical questions, from eye-for-an-eye retribution to revisionist history to the basic premises of war and aggression. Though, if there's one standout lesson to be learned, it would be this: that a brutal potential can exist behind even the most polite and civilized of exteriors, wholly unsuspected until it emerges in the form of violence and self-service. We would all do well to consider such possibilities, I think, lest we ourselves risk falling victim to such false appearances. Additionally, 'Nanking' is as educational in a positive sense, by way of the powerful and inspiring stories it contains. Here, we see incredible selfishness and destruction balanced by an equally fierce show of selfless service (which, as best as I could tell, seemed to be genuine and unforced on the part of the responsible individuals). And, upon seeing the checkered backgrounds of these individuals, we are shown that the line between "good" and "bad" is by no means cut-and-dry, but instead quite blurred (as evidenced by the humanitarian deeds of a career Nazi German national). Then, perhaps most positive and uplifting of all, is the epilogue, outlining the author's conclusions on the Nanking incident. Her assessments, which are as fair, well-argued, and objective as the rest of the text, provide one last, crucial piece to the historical puzzle: that of the Japanese soldiers' side of the equation, and the possible psychological and social influences that were central to their actions. Expanded to include this viewpoint, the book goes a long way toward establishing an understanding of the aggressors and their mindset -- no small thing, for such understanding is, I believe, the first step toward compassion, forgiveness, and, ultimately, healing (and, perhaps, to prevention of future repetitions of such incidents). For these reasons, I have rated 'The Rape of Nanking' the rare five stars, due to its universal relevance to the collective human lesson. I am sincerely thankful to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I have benefited from your work and service. * A notable quote: "This book was written with George Santayana's immortal warning in mind: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." p16
Anonymous 11 months ago
When you think you're having a bad day, or that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, think of this. You'll realise¿ life probably isn't so bad.
Griffin369 More than 1 year ago
It is a passionately written book. The author seemed to be consumed by the need to write this book. I believe it covers the correct points of view and explains them all. It is sad to think that politics are able to factor in to anything outside of taking care of their own people, but such is our sad truth throughout history. It is sad to see that a beautiful mind, such as the authors, no longer exists due to a burning drive that inevitably turned it against itself. This should be required information for all generations in all countries as to show them what humans are capable of and to help determine the punishment when such atrocities are conducted.
AEEJC More than 1 year ago
A horrific aspect of WWII we should all know more about.  We rarely hear much about what the Japanese did, but this is a well researched and well written historical account of what was done to the Chinese in Nanking.  Hard to read, but for someone who cares about history and has an interest in WWII history a must read.   The Japanese were as cruel as Germans during this time. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This actually happened. The reason reporters did not report this was becaus they were in a safe zone designated by an international organization, and they could not have seen the bodies. Only toward the end of the war were the Japanese driven out. As for 20,000 rapes, i doubt it, but 300,000 deaths i can believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book about brutality
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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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