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The Rape of Nanking

Written by: Iris Chang
Narrated by: Anna Fields
Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 story of this atrocity- one of the worst in world history- continues to be 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. It was Iris Chang who discovered the diaries of the German leader of this rescue effort, John Rabe, whom she calls the "Oskar Schindler of China." A loyal supporter of Adolf Hitler, but far from the terror planned in his Nazi-controlled homeland, he worked tirelessly to save the innocent from slaughter.

©1997 by Iris Chang (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks

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Eye opening

This content in this book will be shocking and hard to digest for some. It takes the reader through not only the brutal reality of war crimes, but into the minds of perpetrators and victims. The writer details the later denial of the events not only by Japan, but the rest of the world, even China itself. Well done!

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Incredible

This book changed how I view the word holocaust....we automatically think the Jewish holocaust yet there is another that rips apart what we know about humanity ...must read!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Haunting.

This book changed my vision of an entire country and the crimes they commited during the second WW. It is almost unbelivable at times. Very good narration. Recommended.

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This should be required reading.

The narrator gives a phenomenal performance of the absolute horror that is 'The Rape of Nanking'.

You have been warned.

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Great History Book

This book was well written and a must read for any historian. Anna Fields is great at narrating this book!

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An important read

An important and sobering recounting of events of a horrific, historical tragedy that should be taught with the same fervor as the Holocaust. Chang's book should be required reading for anyone interested in the subject.

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a crushing acount of death and destruction.

10 out of 10 master piece. I highly recommend it to any body who has eyes to read or ears to listen.

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  • Douglas
  • 2009-09-05

Powerful

I disagree with one of the other reviewers who said that this book was biased. Chang makes a point of saying that this type of atrocity is not limited to the Japanese people and she gives credit to some Japanese officials who wept when they saw what had taken place. She merely points out that this event in history is too often overlooked. While almost everyone knows about the Holocaust, how many can tell the hideous tales of Nanking, Baatan (Tears In The Darkness) or of Pol Pot in Cambodia (To Destroy You Is No Loss)? We must learn from these historical horrors as well, and, most importantly, as Chang says, acknowledge their victims.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • despinne
  • 2003-03-15

Well worth your time

The story is reviewed very well. This is a formerly untold war story about Japanese atrocities. While this may put you off, the book was very well written and gives you a perspective of China toward Japanese that may continue to this day.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Yates
  • 2018-05-29

Important, Brutal, Critical WWII Reading

After years of learning about World War II (from elementary school through college through personal reading as an adult), I finally turned to this classic and important part of the World War II historical canon. Iris Chang's work chronicling the horrors of the Rape of Nanking is overwhelming. As the subtitle of the book makes clear, while the atrocities committed during the Holocaust by the Nazis have been thoroughly and voluminously studied the same attention to detail and extensive scholarship has not been expended on the months-long atrocities at Nanking. The brutality of the conquering Japanese military against the largely civilian population of Nanking epitomizes savagery and, unlike much of the Holocaust, took place in the open with little subterfuge or euphemisms, in full view of multiple international witnesses.

Chang is meticulous in her work, having gathered information from numerous primary sources, ranging from the letters and diaries of Western observers (including Americans, British, and Germans), as well as interviews with and the writings of the Chinese that survived the event. The scale of the murder, torture, and rape is hard to conceive of -- in fact, just calling it murder and rape makes the cruelty seem mundane when the forms it took were beyond the pale. The inhumanity of the Japanese to the residents of Nanking beggars belief.

This crime against humanity still has ramifications today. The tense Sino-Japanese relationship of the present plays out in a world where the Japanese have never fully admitted their actions or culpability, have never apologized, have never truly educated their population about the myriad shameful acts. Where Germany was forced to face the Holocaust, Japan to this day will not reckon with Nanking. And Western peoples likewise do not pay nearly enough attention to what WWII meant for Asians, only seeming to pay attention to the Japanese to the extent their actions directly impacted the United States. This book is as important now as it was when it was published, and shines a much-needed light on at least one part of the non-Western events of WWII and on the depravity that is possible during wartime.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • William Michael Brauer
  • 2018-02-26

Necessary reading.

Evil. exists not in the"other" but in every individual human being.

Weakness/capitulation is no solution.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristi
  • 2016-05-06

One of the most powerful stories ever told

This book should be required reading for any WWII history class. The Nanking Massacre is tragically unknown to most people yet the Jewish holocaust is known about by all. It could be argued that the events in Nanking hold at least the same historical importance and this book tells the story in a truly gripping manner

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Grant Wentworth
  • 2015-07-12

A dark history brushed under the rug

Where does The Rape of Nanking rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top.

What did you like best about this story?

Using first hand accounts helps give the story a face.

Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

No one really. Just a good narrator

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Very much so

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thucydides
  • 2016-10-05

Simply a must read

Crucial history well told. Told from the perspective of the Japanese, a Nazi, and an American. Thoroughly researchers and told in with eloquent and compelling prose. Let us never forget and never repeat.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2016-04-07

The world should be made to study this tragedy

Iris Chang does and excellent job and Anna Fields narrates this book well but what the book lacks is more from the Japanese side. Unfortunately the Japanese seem to be trying to hide this past of theirs. Whilst Germany has to live with the guilt and shame of WWII the Japanese seem to have white washed it. Never the less, I think if the rest of the world remembers, studies, and discusses the Rape of Nanking, then the Japanese will have to come to grips with it. I can't understand how people can do the atrocities they do, lucky I have never been put in that situation but I hope by reading about these events I will think twice and do the right thing and be a human being if ever put in a situation like the Rape of Nanking.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 2012-06-26

A Must LISTEN

Would you listen to The Rape of Nanking again? Why?

Yes, with a pen and paper to get the facts written down.

What did you like best about this story?

The incredible research that has gone into the work.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It astounded me

Any additional comments?

Anyone living-with or dealing with the Chinese should listen to this to gain an understanding into their intense distrust of their neighbours.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • 2010-09-27

A Story that needed telling!

I've heard the term much of my life. I lived through WWII and never got the details on what the "Rape of Nanking" meant. This was a story I needed to hear. The Japanese culture needs correcting....but only exposes like this will let the current generation know what thier forebears did.......

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Munshi Asadullah
  • 2018-04-03

Must read (rather listne)

Loved it ... finished in just 5 days. Well written... if the events that unfolded during the weeks of atrocities are one's primary interest. I however, hoped for a more detailed multi-dimensional analysis of what caused it and what drived the animal like behaviour to continue for as long as it did. To be fair the author did make a decent attempt of such analysis... just sort of my very subjective satisfaction i guess . It is a book that will be hard for many to stomach. I believe it can be a rather gloomy realization of humans capacity of violence. As a strong proponent of evolutionary realism, I found it to be quite educational.