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The Rape of Nanking

by Iris Chang
1998, Pen­guin Books
ISBN 0140277447
Illus­trat­ed, 336 pages.
Pub­lish­er Com­ments
In Decem­ber 1937, the Japan­ese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. With­in weeks, more than 300,000 Chi­nese civil­ians 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 what will sure­ly be the defin­i­tive his­to­ry of this hor­ri­fy­ing episode. The Rape of Nanking tells the sto­ry from three per­spec­tives: of the Japan­ese sol­diers who per­formed it, of the Chi­nese civil­ians who endured it, and 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. Among these was the Nazi John Rabe, an unlike­ly hero whom Chang calls the “Oskar Schindler of Chi­na” and who worked tire­less­ly to pro­tect the inno­cent and pub­li­cize the hor­ror. More than just nar­rat­ing the details of an orgy of vio­lence, The Rape of Nanking ana­lyzes the mil­i­taris­tic cul­ture that fos­tered in the Japan­ese sol­diers a total dis­re­gard for human life. Final­ly, it tells the appalling sto­ry: about how the advent of the Cold War led to a con­cert­ed effort on the part of the West and even the Chi­nese to sti­fle open dis­cus­sion of this atroc­i­ty. Indeed, Chang char­ac­ter­izes this con­spir­a­cy of silence, that per­sists to this day, as “a sec­ond rape”.

THIS BOOK IS IN PRINT.
Avail­able com­mer­cial­ly. Find out more about Iris Chang [1].