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The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  243 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The Good Man of Nanking is a crucial document for understanding one of World War II's most horrific incidents of genocide, one which the Japanese have steadfastly refused to acknowledge.It is also the moving and awe-inspiring record of one man's conscience, courage, and generosity in the face of appalling human brutality.

Until the recent emergence of John Rabe's diaries, f
ebook, 320 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published November 3rd 1998)
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Gabe rated it liked it
Sep 08, 2007
Jan 12, 2008 Mr.david rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not compelling but a competent first-person account of the Rape of Nanjing. I read it in conjunction with my stay in Nanjing where I studied Chinese. My school, Nanjing Normal University, was inside the "safe zone" that John Rabe set up in the midst of mass murder.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2008 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in the horrors of war
I read this as a follow up to "The Rape of Nanking". It was interesting, but not as emotionally overwhelming since I was still raw from the latter.
Aug 15, 2008 Jodi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, memoir
This is a fabulous challenge of your automatic vilification of anyone a member of the Nazi Party.
Dec 08, 2008 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a mediocre book that promised more but didn't deliver. Perhaps, it's the translation. Anywhoooooo!
Oct 22, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
John Rabe was a German employee of the Siemens corporation who worked in China for thirty years. He was in Nanking when the Japanese invaded China, and stayed there despite the eventual Japanese occupation. While there, he observed many of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army, but more importantly, did more than his part to protect as many of the poor Chinese who were unable to flee the city. Working with other Germans, as well as the English and Americans, he helped established an inte ...more
Danielle Stoll
I read half of the book the fall of 2009 when I focused on the Nanking massacre for all of my papers in my Writing II class. John Rabe may have been part of the Nazi Party, but he lived most of his life in China where he had a great hand in saving 250,000-300,000 Chinese lives.
Jun 27, 2011 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
An amazing true account about a staunch nazi supporter who helped save the lives of more than 250,000 Chinese during the war.

Known as the Chinese Oskar Schindler.
Jul 25, 2011 Choonyeefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had the diary been written/published by a Chinese author, it'd be criticized again as propagating the anti-Japanese sentiment. But, this gruesome account of the suffering had been documented by a German, whose home country at that time was an ally of the Japanese army. Which I meant to say that J.Rabe's account of the Rape of Nanking must have been unbiased and reported as it was. As evinced in this book.

The atrocities committed by the unruly Japanese soldiers still, no doubt, would make one's
May 17, 2014 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Rabe is a quirky individual but with a good heart. "Dear God, watch over over my family and good humor; I'll take care of the other incidental's myself." His accounts of the atrocities in Nanking following the invasion of the Japanese are a sad reflection of the brutality of humanity. His boldness and courage were admirable, though I had hoped to hear more about what happened to the refugees after John Rabe left China, two months after the invasion. So strange that the Europeans and America ...more
Mar 02, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book about the way the Chinese were treated by the Japanese in WWII. John Rabe definitely lives up to his name as the German Oskar Shindler. Fascinating story full of compassion. Rabe manages to keep his sense of humor and wit throughout all the horrible atrocities of war.
Johan Herrenberg
Jul 13, 2012 Johan Herrenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good first introduction to the terrible event that is the Nanking Massacre. The character of John Rabe comes through very strongly. He really had a sort of greatness thrust upon him.
Feb 21, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing and emotional true life account about the first days of the Japanese occupation in Nanking, Rabe really captured a narrator's voice while writing in his personal journals. While sometimes difficult to read (in the sense that the brutality described is almost too bestial to be true) the translated diary's of John Rabe stand as reminder of the Holocaust that was committed, and then forgotten about, in China during WWII. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Chinese, Japa ...more
Jun 21, 2013 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a tragic story! Einstein said that he thought the only to things that are infinite are the universe and the capacity for human stupidity, although he wasn't sure about the universe. I think the other thing that is infinite is the capacity for human cruelty. Hard to imagine the sort of brutalisation and indoctrination that soldiers must go through to be able to do do these things. The best and worst of the human condition on show here. Should be read by anyone who still view war as righteous ...more
Tracey Neet Niblack
Jul 20, 2013 Tracey Neet Niblack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in history or another theater of WWII.
Although not a fast or riveting read, this book is very interesting. I had to set it down many times due to the details of atrocities carried out during WWII in China. This book is from the diaries of John Rabe who was in China as a Siemens employee up until 1938 (or was it 39?). As a a witness to history it is very informative and a good read.
Sep 03, 2013 Samuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the most incredible stories in history.
Everyone has heard of the Oskar Schindler along with the other righteous gentiles and rightly so, their efforts at saving thousands of lives are a testament of humanity at its best even when the world was at it's most brutal.

But here is a book about a man most of you would have never heard of, John Rabe. A man who was a member of the Nazi party and yet who helped save more than 250000 lives in one of the worst war crimes in history, and the most in
Thomas Wictor
Apr 02, 2014 Thomas Wictor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The diary of John Rabe, the "Oscar Schindler of China." It's strange to imagine that a devoted Nazi saved so many from the murderous imperial Japanese army, but it's true. Grueling to read. You're left completely agog that a chubby, middle-aged businessman took such chances with his own life. A lesson in fearlessness and conscience.
Jan 31, 2015 Amelia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good Man of Nanking: The Diary of a Good Nazi
A Review By: Amelia

Interested in more book reviews? Check out my blog Bookworms Unite! (

I’ve had a grim fascination with World War Two since I was a child thanks to my grandfather who told me countless war stories. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the war into a few years ago when I read a historical fiction novel called The Devil of Nanking (which I have also reviewed for this blog). It
Andrew Dolbeare
Oct 24, 2014 Andrew Dolbeare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A precious and powerful account of the Nanking Massacre. There are other surprises here as well. John Rabe offers a surprising first hand look at postwar Germany and the Soviet occupation. A very rewarding glimpse at some of the less focused aspects of WWII.
Vicki rated it did not like it
Jan 11, 2015
Doug Wilson
Doug Wilson rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2016
Sep 08, 2015 Shane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I came to this book after reading Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking. While in Chang’s book we get a glimpse of Rabe and an outsiders perspective at the events that took place between 1937 and 1938, in this book, we get to see the events as they unfold and from the perspective of someone who was actually there. It is a tragic and hard book to read, but it is very informative, and it is even filled with random clippings from other people who were there during the massacre. John’s diaries also conti ...more
Ryan Tran
May 20, 2015 Ryan Tran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently halfway through this book and I'm really enjoying myself. The fact that the entire book is made of diary entries is extremely interesting. It gives you a deeper look of what really went on. The Japanese claim that all the accusations against them were exaggerated, this book proves their statement to be false. John Rabe was truly and amazing individual.
Sharyl rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2015
Mel Foster
Jun 26, 2015 Mel Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People looking for a story of heroism and horror that smashes stereotypes
Recommended to Mel by: Iris Chang
The amazing true story of a Nazi party leader and Siemens employee in China who worked with an International committee in Nanking to help protect Chinese civilians from massacre, famine, and rape at the hands of Japanese soldiers in 1937-8. His main collaborating angels? American missionaries!

Like many other readers, I came to this book through Iris Chang, who in fact helped to make Rabe's diaries known to the world. This book is primary source material, a well-chosen collection of Rabe's diary
May 21, 2015 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was wonderfully written. Seeing the title for the first time, got me interested to read this book. Flipping the pages one by one got me more into the book
The Book
Oct 16, 2015 The Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, china, non-fiction
A pretty harrowing read - the diaries of what happened in Nanjing when the Japanese invaded China during WWII from the standpoint of a German employed by Siemans who opted to stay in Nanjing in a bid to protect innocent Chinese civilians. He's a man of old-fashioned honourable values (in some regards, because he was also a Nazi and unquestioningly followed Hitler) and what he achieved was remarkable.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 27, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Diaries of John Rabe, a Nazi, who built an safety zone in Nanking to try and save the Chinese people from being killed by the Japanese Army.

Nanking's population in 1937 was around 1.3 million. It's revealed that Nanking had actually gone through an earlier massacre. The Taiping Rebellion (1852-1864) led to Imperial Troops retaking Nanking from them, killing almost all the civilians in the city and burning it to the ground, so the Japanese massacre was not the first one at all.

The book t
Nate Chow
This book really taught me more about what was happening in Nanjing. Other than the killings by the Japanese, it is nice to know that there is someone saving Chinese citizens. This German official managed to save over 300,000 Chinese soldiers by letting them escape into the safe zone where he did not let the Japanese pass.
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John Rabe was a German businessman who is best known for his efforts to stop the atrocities of the Japanese army during the Nanking Occupation and, failing in those efforts, his work to protect and succour Chinese civilians during the event. The Nanjing Safety Zone, which he helped to establish, sheltered some 200,000 Chinese people from slaughter during the massacre.

His war-time diaries are publi
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