Summary: The Rape of Nanking is a story that retells the massacre and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after it captured Nanjing (a.k.a. Nanking), the capital of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The story recalls the events leading up to the war, then it tells the atrocities of the Japanese which include but aren’t limited to the systematic rape of over 50,000 women, and the slaughter of over 350,000 people. The story also tells of the bravery of foreigners as they set up a “safety zone,” within which the Japanese could not harm Chinese citizens. The book also includes the fates of the officers and political leaders that allowed this great holocaust to happen.
Evaluation: This book is very good, but is very heavy. The topics discussed are disturbing, even gruesome, but the author feels this is the only way to truly describe the true massacre in Nanjing. This book is not for the faint of heart, but for those who enjoy history, especially the history of WWII, this book would be a good choice for them.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Recommendations: Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, The Scars of War: Tokyo during World War II: Writings of Takeyama Michio
The Rape of Nanking retells the horrors of the Nanking massacre in China during WWII. It tells of the atrocities carried out by Japanese soldiers upon the innocent men, women, and children of China. After the fall of the city’s defenses, the Japanese forces, led by Chang-Kai-Shek, sweep through the city. Over 350,000 people were slaughtered in a little less than three months. Some civilians that were captured were used as live bayonet practice. Sometimes, soldiers would hold competitions to see how many people they could behead in an hour. This book tells of the bravery of a Nazi, a doctor, and a nun that set up a safe zone outside of Nanking as well as the repercussions that the Japanese soldiers faced many years later.
Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing book, but one must understand that this is a very hard book to read. The detail that Iris Chang goes into when she describes the atrocities that were carried out is astonishing. This book is not for the faint of heart, but for those of you that enjoy history and stories of bravery and can tolerate violent scenarios then this is a must read for you. So in conclusion I’m going to give this book 3 stars out of 5. If you do happen read this book and you would like to read more on this era I suggest you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.