The Rape of Nanking


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Foreword by William C. Kirby Introduction Part I 1. The Path to Nanking 2. Six Weeks of Terror 3. The Fall of Nanking 4. Six Weeks of Horror 5. The Nanking Safety Zone Part II 6. What the World Knew 7. The Occupation of Nanking 8. Judgment Day 9. The Fate of the Survivors Part III 10. The Forgotten Holocaust: A Second Rape Epilogue Epilogue for the 2011 Edition Acknowledgments Notes Index

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 honours 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 honourary 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.


The Japanese sack of the Chinese capital Nanking is surely among the world's worst atrocities. In 1937, Japanese forces captured the city and embarked on an orgy of rape, murder and destruction of property unparalleled in scope anywhere to that date. Estimates of those killed within a few days range upward of 350,000. Chang, a freelance writer, first heard about what came to be known as the Rape of Nanking from her parents, who fled China after WWII and settled in the U.S. The author's extensive research lays bare the depravity of Japanese conduct during the war and the heroic resistance of members of the international community in Nanking, who established a safety zone, at great personal risk, to shelter countless thousands of Chinese refugees. One of the unsung heroes of the tragedy is John Rabe, an influential Nazi German in the city who tried without avail to use his influence with Hitler to stop the massacre. Chang's account also takes Japan to task for failing to acknowledge its role in the bloodbath, noting that many high-level Japanese officials still refuse to admit their country's complicity. Likening the siege of Nanking to the recent genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, the author reminds us that "civilization itself is tissue-thin." A compelling, agonizing chronicle. (Dec.)

When Japan occupied China in 1937, its army subjected NankingÄthen China's capitalÄto brutalities on a scale matched only by Nazi Germany's treatment of European Jews. Precise figures are unobtainable, but in only a few weeks, the Japanese appear to have killed 300,000 civiliansÄmany in ways too unspeakable to describe. However, despite the scale of these atrocities, the event has been virtually unknown to the outside world. This book will go a long way toward correcting that deficiency. Drawing on long-neglected documentation and interviews with Nanking survivors, Chang (Thread of the Silkworm) has written a forceful narrative that not only reconstructs the grisly events in detail but analyzes Japan's reluctance to admit its responsibility. Many library patrons will prefer to listen to Blackstone's unabridged recording, while others may wish to limit their descent into hell to this three-hour abridgment, which, with Barbara Rosenblatt's strong reading, delivers the full message.ÄKent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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

Chicago Tribune "A powerful new work of history and moral inquiry. Chang takes great care to establish an accurate accounting of the dimensions of the violence." Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai "Meticulously researched ... A gripping account that holds the reader's attention from beginning to end." Beatrice S. Bartlett, professor of history, Yale University "Iris Chang's research on the Nanking holocaust yields a new and expanded telling of this World War II atrocity and reflects thorough research. The book is excellent; its story deserves to be heard." Frederic Wakeman, director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley "Heartbreaking... An utterly compelling book. The descriptions of the atrocities raise fundamental questions not only about imperial Japanese militarism but the psychology of the torturers, rapists, and murderers." George F. Will, syndicated columnist "Something beautiful, an act of justice, is occurring in America today concerning something ugly that happened long ago... Because of Chang's book, the second rape of Nanking is ending." Orville Schell, The New York Times Book Review "In her important new book ... Iris Chang, whose own grandparents were survivors, recounts the grisly massacre with understandable outrage." Ross Terrill, author of Mao, China in Our Time, and Madame Mao "Anyone interested in the relation between war, self-righteousness, and the human spirit will find The Rape of Nanking of fundamental importance. It is scholarly, an exciting investigation, and a work of passion. In places it is almost unbearable to read, but it should be read--only if the past is understood can the future be navigated."

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