My Challenges (timed)


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Completed 9 of 10


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My Challenges (perpetual)

100 SHOTS OF SHORT
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CHECKIN’ OFF THE CHEKHOV
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THE COMPLETE BOOKER
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MARTEL-HARPER CHALLENGE
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MODERN LIBRARY'S 100 BEST NOVELS

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
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THE PULITZER PROJECT
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TAMMY'S BEYOND BOOKS CHALLENGE

New York Times Book Review: 6/40
New Yorker: 0/36
New York Review of Books: 0/20
Vogue: 1/16
Email: 841/1373

Saturday, May 3, 2008

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

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble: "In December 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured, and murdered more than 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, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and finally 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."

I have had this book on my TBR pile for a few years now, and while I knew the subject was horrible, I was expecting the book to be excellent. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The author covers the topic thoroughly, but you never feel any real connection with any of the people. Much of the evidence is presented in a very bare-bones fashion, sort of a "just the facts" way, which may be accurate but doesn't arouse feelings of empathy for the victims or understanding of why such events occurred-- something that should always be included in books of this type. The thought that kept occurring to me while I was reading was that the book reminded me very much of a college term paper. There's no doubt that the book was incredibly well researched, but the material had the potential for so much more. My final impression of the book is that it does no more than an adequate job of presenting the issue, and I am ambivalent about recommending it to anyone. Perhaps Ms. Chang will revisit the issue in the future and the result will be better.

1 comments:

Michael said...

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