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Daughter Of China

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  299 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A powerfully written memoir in the bestselling tradition of WILD SWANS and FALLING LEAVES
Paperback, 378 pages
Published 1999 by Headline Book Publishing
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Tejas Janet
Jun 15, 2013 Tejas Janet rated it really liked it
Daughter of China is a memoir full of fascinating background about the author's upbringing, schooling, family, and life in China. Born in 1963 and recruited into the People's Liberation Army in 1981, she became one of an exclusive, dozen, young women selected as the first female recruits (known as "the Twelve Pandas") to attend the PLA’s Institute for International Relations.

This is also a love story and tale of intrigue that culminates with Meihong Xu's desperate efforts to join her American-b
Rishi Prakash
Feb 03, 2016 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it
This book is the story of the author which also takes us through the evolution of China covering a period of almost 40 years from 1950 - 1990. Her story which runs parallel to China's intriguing years is like a movie which makes you realise why truth can be stranger than fiction.

She was one of the twelve girls selected after a rigorous process and tests where almost every single Chinese girl had applied and would have given anything to be a part of the first batch of female cadets to be recruite
Feb 21, 2016 Bigsna rated it really liked it
The remarkable story of a military spy who is then treated as an enemy of state, in the backdrop of a cautiously protective and paranoid China in the cold war era. No wonder they say that if this story wasn't true, a Hollywood script writer would have written it.

The simple language and first person narrative transports you into that time and place in China, when the country's most defining transitions take place and where Meihong's life path unfolds. Reading the first hand experience and perspe
Mar 29, 2008 +Chaz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Hitler said it best when he wrote that people are not moved by facts and logic, but by emotions and feelings. China has proven this well. This book brings that concept to mind. Meihong Xu and Larry Engelmann have given the world a brief but, limited look into China that most Americans have no concept. It was gripping and held me to every page. As I read I wanted to know more about the system that was blocking Meihong passage to freedom. Yes, I to was disappointed with the ending, however ...more
May 14, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it
This was an absorbing read that taught me a lot about how the changes that went through China with the Great Leap Forward, and Mao's influence, affected the population. Told eloquently and clearly from a very personal perspective, it doesn't try to apologise or excuse what happened but focuses on the loss of ideals, faith in the system and how individuals are repressed so easily from success.

It wasn't what I was expecting, but that kind of pleasant surprise is just what I love from a book like t
May 16, 2010 chucklesthescot rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in life in Communist China true stories
Since I read 'Wild Swans' I've been fascinated by stories of life in Communist China before, during and after the Cultural Revolution. I first read this book in the library then hunted down my own copy.

Meihong Xu is a patriotic young woman who wants to serve her country but when she meets the foreigners, hears about new ways to live and learns about love, she is not so sure of what she is doing. Branded as a traitor and scared she might die, her only hope is to get out of China with help from a
Aug 22, 2012 BoekenTrol rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Booklady331
Recommended to BoekenTrol by: Minerva101
Like I said in my status update, I was not really sure what to think of this book. I'm glad I continued reading, otherwise I would have missed a good and interesting read.

I liked this book and the insight it gave me on how the Chinese society works (or worked, since the book has been written over a decade ago). I liked the way the story was written, memories, thoughts set off another part of Meihong Xu's life story.

Despite I have no experience on China or with Chinese bureaucracy, the book felt
Aug 25, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Uplifting book, hopeful and optimistic approach to life. I was right there with the author sharing the fears the joys the suspense the love. The human race is not hopeless after all is it?

of course the book was written ten years ago. now the love birds are getting divorced or are divorced and who knows where things are at?

what is the truth anyway?

but I still liked the romantic notion of the book... but maybe it is all deception.... who knows... she may still be a spy for the PLA... hidden in pla
Apr 04, 2009 Meagan rated it liked it
This book was well written in the sense of giving the reader an in-depth look at how the PLA works (or worked since this was written years after Mao Zedong). The order of the book was a bit awkawrd once you near the end. It starts with the author in prison and then goes into a history of her village. Then, she describes her interrogation and then back to her past and how she became a PLA soldier. I found the first half the most inriguing. Yet, despite this minor annoyance, I really enjoyed this ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Redfox5 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the back I was expecting this to be a gripping and exciting love story. I didn't get that. The grand romance is actually very brief and as far as I can tell, nothing actually seems to have happened in China. What I did get instead was a veiw of China that I didn't even think would still be happening. This all happens on the year that I was born, which is only 23 years ago. I wonder if this book is banned in China? Makes me want to read more books about this sort of thing. I did enjoy this ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting read. I have read and taught about China for many years and have spent a bit of time there. It is an amazing place. Mao's time in charge was such a tragedy. It started so well and ended so badly and it is hard to know where this incredible country's future lies. The irony is that our capitalism is now totally dependent on it, but will the years of corruption and desperation allow it to fix its own internal issues. A very interesting personal story about the dangers of ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Shauna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I so wanted to give this book 5 stars. I know, I'm eternal optimist, but the afterward killed it for me--who doesn't want a happy ending? This book is the story of Meihong Xu, a peasant girl from China who becomes an officer in the PLA, then later becomes disillusioned with how China is being run. She meets an American professor with whom she falls in love and is eventually able to escape to the United States. It is a fascinating story and gives insights into China that will blow your mind. Just ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Ada rated it liked it
To learn about the life of Meihong was really interesting and sad. It's hard to fathom what she and her ancestors went through in dealing with the unsettling life under Mao and other dictators. I thought I was in for a happy ending, but it left me feeling very conflicted about some of the choices she made. Some of the language and lived realities of Meihong's life detailed in the story made it difficult for me to give this more than three stars, but it is a great book to help you feel grateful ...more
Peta Brettig
Aug 05, 2013 Peta Brettig rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the history side of this book and once again I am glad to have been brought up in Australia! I was interested in the main characters journey and her upbringing in communist China but didn't really get the love side of the story. Maybe it was just the way the story was written but the relationship didn't build up, I ended up finding it hard to believe they were actually into each other because there wasn't much focus on that. Good for the history but it wasn't a page turner for me.
Aug 19, 2013 Rose rated it liked it
This was an interesting read because it came from a different perspective. I read Feather in the Storm: A Childhood Lost in Chaos where it was written from a farmers point of view. In Daughter of China it was written from someone who was accepted and trained as a PLA officer. In that aspect it was interesting to compare the two lives. However I didn't care for the writing. It had no flow and very choppy and sometimes confusing. You never knew which part of her life you would read next.
Oct 21, 2007 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an incredible book for teaching about the thinking of both the Chinese govt and its people. But its ending was disappointing; I wanted a fictional happy ending. But this wasn't fiction and its characters weren't inventions. But burning questions remain for me: What's happened to Larry Engelmann and Meihong Xu since 1999?
Sep 30, 2008 Gitta rated it really liked it
A true story about the trials, oppression, and rules that have saturated Chinese history. This book tells the story of a girl who experienced difficulties as a soldier in the PLA. As years went by she eventually forgot why she wanted to be in the Chinese military in the first place and goes against almost everything and everyone she loves to get out.
Sep 29, 2007 Annamarsiana rated it really liked it
The personal and political struggles of this Meihong under the communist regime in China were just inseprable this book. It is so touching and moving (I set tears when reading this)... and at the same time also so shocking, how cruel this communist army was...
An interesting read but I can't say I liked it. For me the story would have worked better if it had been told chronologically instead of jumping about in time as it did. Felt slightly disjointed and confusing.
Oct 28, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Can you tell I like to read stuff about China? This was interesting because it's a true story of a girl who was a very dedicated communist youth. Talk about dissonance — when what you believe to be true does not match what you experience.
Beth Britnell
Oct 07, 2015 Beth Britnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not look at the pictures until you've read the book! If you go into the book without knowing anything about it, you'll see a spoiler in the pictures.
Dec 28, 2007 Kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this book in high school and it stuck with me. This was my first encounter with stories about China that didn't come from a text book.
Aug 28, 2011 Patty rated it it was amazing
Excellent! This book reads like a spy novel! Amazed by the contrast of her life experiences and my own. She is my contemporary but has experienced so much more in her lifetime.
Kate North
Jul 05, 2015 Kate North rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was fairly good, though I found it quite disjointed as it kept jumping back and forth in time. Not as good as Wild Swans, but an interesting (true) story.
Sep 17, 2007 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beach readers
This is a compelling story, but it would make a better made-for-TV movie than a book. The writing is boring and disconnected. The story itself is overdone with sentiment and sappiness.
Apr 11, 2016 Ali rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Miller
Sep 10, 2016 Karen Miller rated it really liked it
I read this after I visited China. The nonfiction account describes real life under the Chinese political system along with it's suspicions, failures and unjust rules.
Jun 12, 2012 Annemarie rated it liked it
Parts of this story is still oh so familiar when you live in China. It is a good book to read, but I have read too many in this genre to appreciate this book.
Apr 24, 2007 Kristina rated it liked it
Definitely interesting while she was in the Red Army or whatever they called it during the Cultural Revolution, less so after she makes it to Canada or wherever she went, and then comes back.
Gweneth rated it liked it
May 07, 2015
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