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A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman
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A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman (Light on China )

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The customs and traditions of Chinese family life are revealed in the detailed recollections of a working-class grandmother, born in the 1860's.
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 1st 1945 by Stanford University Press (first published 1945)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 376)
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Nick Dupree
A wonderful, insightful narrative of East Asia's tumultuous history, from the eyes and lips of an old Chinese woman.

History is, ultimately, the story of people and their relations, whether peaceful, characterized by the worst violence and gore, or the myriad of grays in between. The "Great Man" historians offer a lot of the peoples' story, through the words of the great leaders and their actions and reactions to the people and society they helped lead, and for that reason I'd never discount "Gr
Apr 13, 2015 Briana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History buffs, People interested in modern China
Shelves: school-reading
Very good book on the working class women.

Read it for a history class at school. The mood of this book is very much someone reading it to you, very similar to an oral story written down. Some of the sentences are structured awkwardly but that I believe comes from the translation into english, or T'ai-T'ai speaking in english. There are places where she jumps from topic to topic very quickly, but for the most part it is structured in major events such as her wedding or her moving towns.

One thing
1945 [Yale Univ Press], 1967 and after: Stanford
Subtitle: The autobiogrphay of a Chinese working woman

Esp. meaningful to me because I knew Ida Pruitt in Philadelphia, she was already around 80 then. A very independent person, she knew what was important and what wasn't.

I bleed for this woman and her children for the life-long consequences of being so poorly raised. She and her family could have used some good family therapists.
Apparently Lao Tai-tai was an entertaining talker and sociable person
half way through and couldn't finish. way too old, this lady is just babbling and if there was a plot i couldn't follow it.
Rebekah Lewis
An "autobiography" - this is the story of Ning L. T'Ai-T'ai told by Ida Pruitt as she heard her story over several meetings. Ning lived in the last days of China's Qing dynasty. Born with some of the worst luck, she makes the best of her surroundings and friends to overcome the troubles of an opiate addicted husband and the troubles he bought to her. Not really poor, not rich, Ning is an outlier of her time - a working class woman and a true revolutionary (though she would have never seen hersel ...more
Christian Patterson
As literature, it's really dry. This is more like a history book on a very micro level. So you get a lot of good insights into late Qing Dynasty/Warlord Era/early modernizing China. But it isn't so great to read as a narrative
This book is a very interesting look into the life of a woman in China at the turn of the century. If you are interested in Chinese history, especially from a female perspective, I definitely recommend this book. However, I didn't like the writing style. The author seems to have copied straight down what the woman told her. I think it could have used some editing and rearranging since the style was very anecdotal. This made it difficult to figure out times and dates, since she seemed to be jumpi ...more
The narrative makes a lot more sense if you are familiar with the geography of where Ning lives and what is happening in China during this period. Ning grew up on a coastal town of China, in the age where foreigners (missionaries and some traders) were common sights. Most important, this really illustrates the debilitating impact opium addiction had on many families. The tale ends with Japanese bombing in the early 1900's.
This autobiography gives more than a few insights into the life of a woman struggling to survive in a culture that is not accepting of opinions that vary from those of the government. She struggles, not because of who she is, but because of the people she chooses to associate with. I enjoyed stepping into the mind of this corageous woman and watching her slow ascension up the bittersweet mountain of triumph.
This book is better understood with knowledge of Chinese culture, otherwise it would not make for an interesting read. Also,it is a period piece and the whole of Chinese culture should not be based off of a single woman's story. I have read this book twice and found myself polarized by the poverty and strength of Nang each time.
Nov 28, 2007 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in eastern culture and history
I found this as a really unique view into the life of a woman living through WWI and the beginnings of WWII in China. I knew little about the cultural history of this part of the world, so I learned a lot about the effects of foot binding, the introduction of Opium into their society, and the Japanese Occupation.
Some ethnocentrism comes from this autobiography of a late nineteenth century working Chinese woman, including her marriage, troubles and hopes. Not only a good read for someone interested in the period itself, but for those looking for primary sources related to feminism or gender studies.
In my quest for more information on China, I read this autobiography. It was dictated by a Chinese woman to the wife of a preacher. It offers a lot of insight into daily life of the Chinese during the latter part of the 19th century, and illuminates some of the aftershocks of globalization.
this book started out pretty good... a lot of interesting stories that really grabbed you in... but towards the end it got pretty dry and boring (i actually didn't even read the last like 20 pages)
Joshua Deaver
It's not often that you view the life and times of the 'small' people. This was a great look at life and times. It is extremely tough to get a book out of the East Asian powers that is true to form.
Neal Adolph
A fascinating oral history of a Chinese woman struggling with a rapidly changing China and rapidly changing life. Heartbreaking and heartbuilding.
This book was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. It was nice reading about a China no one in our lifetime got to see.
Jun 17, 2007 Kat rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: class
Good, if you're looking for a book describing the daily life of regular folk.

Similar feel to The Good Earth.
Indeed a period piece of Chinese history. A hardship and struggle of a mother to provide for her children.
A good one for understanding Chinese culture and also the bonds between women in that culture.
Mar 27, 2012 tata rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: uofl
Fascinating look into Chinese culture from a woman's perspective.
Angie Solvie
This is an incredible book
Super interesting
Fabulous read!
Tasia marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2015
Conor Fogarty
Conor Fogarty marked it as to-read
Jun 15, 2015
Jessie marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2015
Melody Condron
Melody Condron marked it as to-read
Jun 08, 2015
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“My father told us stories about our ancestors and about the city and how we should act. He told us that the four sins are wine, women, wealth, and wrath.” 0 likes
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