Book Notification

Jung Chang Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Madame Sun Yat-Sen (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mao: The Unknown Story (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Empress Dowager Cixi (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Phycomycete Flora of Soil and Litter in Hong Kong (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British Biography author famous for her autobiography Wild Swans. She was born in 1952, and in 1978 she relocated to Britain. The novel has been wide purchases with a sale of over 10 million copies all over the world but is banned in mainland China.

The Asian Wall Street Journal selected Wild Swans as the wildly-read book about China. Her novels have been translated into over forty languages sold outside mainland China.

Wild Swans

It’s a book about a family history within a century recounting the lives of three female generations in China. The novel contains biographies of Wild Swans’ grandmother, her mother, and her autobiography.
It’s a story of love and courage as the author describes the unique experiences of family members, her grandmother who was a warlord’s concubine, her mother’s fight as a young communist, and experience of her parents’ as members of the Communist elite and their tribulation during the Cultural Revolution.

As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang describes in moving and uplifting information the cycles of violent drama that came upon her family and many others caught up in the history. One of the three generations is the author herself, who is now a naturalized British Citizen.

The second one is her mother, a committed communist who raised a big family during a hard time. The third is her grandmother, who was married off as a concubine to a warlord as a girl and lived to see her family suffer for unfortunate connection. She escaped getting freedom with her daughter, Chang’s mother, who later became a rebel and started supporting communism.

Using the three extraordinary lives as her primary focus, Jung Chang tells the history of China from the late Qing Dynasty in the first decade of the century to the 1980s, a period that was compromising the Republican era. There was a war between the Kwomintang and the Communists, the Cultural Revolution, and the Great Leap Forward.

The author’s father is a high-ranking cadre who genuinely believed in communist ideals and tried all his life to implement them in his day-to-day life. At first, he’s angry about granting his wife and children the privileges to which they are entitled as his relatives, but as the story opens up, you’ll realize that he’s heroic.

As the Cultural Revolution gets around the corner, you’ll admire him and wish to take him out of the humiliations and beating he gets because of sticking to his guns so that he doesn’t lose his faith. Jung Chang does a great job of sharing the historical facts in a way that readers will understand while showing the mercilessness and cruelty I the Chinese and humanity at large.

Along the way, she gives interesting insights into Mao selfishness and megalomania with the hypocrisy of the movements that he started brutalizing human relationships. All these atrocities Jung juxtaposes with the integrity and courage of her grandmother and mother, who live with hope and optimism.

The three generations had to endure the cruel takeover of Mao Tse Tung. With all communist rhetoric, many noble promises were made to people, where freedom of oppression was the biggest, and the innocent poor believed in the idea to the extent of dying for it.

People such as Jung’s father, who believed communism would bring good changes, faced horror after the initial real implications of communism hit their lives. Freedom was among the first privileges to be repealed in all human existence.

All intellectuals were killed or interned as they all lost their jobs, and their respect in society was destroyed while being declared enemies of the state. The health and educational systems were destroyed, and land grabbing was part of the plan.

Landowners were brutally killed, and land grabbing became a normal activity. Land redistribution soon led to overgrazing and erosion of millions of hectares. Most parts of chins became artificial deserts as poverty and famine increased rapidly. Around thirty million people died of hunger only, which was kept a secret for forty years.

Even Though the book is a memoir of one family, Chang tries weaving in broader political and historical issues of the times. This gives Wil Swans a bigger scope than most of the memoirs as it gives an understanding of Chinese history and politics.

It’s inspiring how Jung Chang tells her own story of precarious survival and struggle for scraps of education under the terrifying and unstable regime and her brainwashed worship of Mao. Even though she enjoys some privileges due to her father’s status, she knows everything can be grabbed at any time. When she gets the chance to leave China, even under some restrictions, she grabs the chance without a second thought.

Mao: The Unknown Story
The story is based on a decade of research and numerous interviews with most of Mao’s close people in China who never got the chance to talk. The author also got information from everyone virtually outside China who has ever dealt with him.

The novel contains a series of revelations and surprising myths about the Long March and the unknown side of Mao. He was never driven by ideology as his intimate relationship with Stalin tracked back to the 1920s, bringing him power as he welcomed Japanese occupation in China. He plotted, poisoned, and even blackmailed to get his way to the top.

After Mao defeated China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In pursuit of his dream, he causes the death of 38 million people in the greatest famine in the world. Under Mao’s Rule, over 70 million people lost their lives.

Mao was one of the titanic people of the twentieth century. He rose from humble beginnings during a time of war and revolution, taking control of the Chinese communist party. He was a brutally focused leader who chased his goals without caring for human lives. He is responsible for many bad things in China during his reign.

He did not only cause deaths, enslavement, and destruction of cultural and historical artifacts and imprisonments. During his reign, Mao had great international support from an American journalist, Edgar Snow, and a French author, Jean-Paul, who termed Mao’s revolutionary violence as something ‘profoundly moral.

Jung Chang uses a date range in each chapter, providing Mao’s ages during that period. Chang and Halliday did a great job locating the ordinary people caught up in the bloody churn of his wake.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jung Chang

Leave a Reply