Dragon Seed
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Dragon Seed

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,285 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Fedele al mondo della sua giovinezza, la Cina, Pearl S. Buck narra la vicenda di una comunità di contadini che resiste alle violenze degli invasori giapponesi, forte della dignità e della saggezza di cui i suoi membri sono stati testimoni e interpreti nei secoli. Improntata a un positivo realismo, la vicenda è addolcita dalla sensibilità con la quale l’autrice accosta e de...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Moyer Bell (first published 1941)
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Library of America Wish List
41st out of 87 books — 22 voters
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Transcultural Fiction
85th out of 272 books — 151 voters

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Community Reviews

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For some time, I've wondered what it was like for farmers and people who lived in remote areas during times of warfare. While major battles were fought in cities and large armies tore each other apart, what did these other people experience? How did the war affect them?

Pearl S Buck writes about this exact situation in the context of the Japanese invasion of China during the 1930s. She focuses on one family, the Lings, who have long lived on their land and have known peace and prosperity for many...more
May 02, 2008 Joanna added it
Recommends it for: Any one over the age of 15
Very few books have the sort of impact that this one does. I've read it at least 3 times and while I am a huge Pearl S. Buck fan and have read more than a dozen of her novels (by the way, she wrote her Asian novels first in Chinese, they had to be translated to English, which explains their authenticity!), I ALWAYS recommend this one first, over "The Good Earth." It's short, but powerful, and despite the horrors of the war which are addressed, it is an inpiration to read.
Pearl S. Buck writes this story of the invasion of China by the Japanese during WWII from the viewpoint of the peasant farmers outside Nanking. The city is never named and the Japanese are simply called the East-Ocean people.

The language of the book is simple, as if coming from the lips of a Chinese farmer. But the thoughts and feelings are beautifully expressed. Some parts of the book are hard to read, but told without today's graphic descriptions. Don't expect today's liberated women because t...more
Johanna Ilen
This book is a family saga describing the complete change of one family's life caused by WWII. They go from peaceful farming life where the outside world does not have meaning for them to an awareness of other nations and their power on them. They also have to go from helpless to fighting the war, even though they are not in the army. Each person takes these changes differently, coping as they can.

In rural China these events take place simultaneously with development of literacy and beginning o...more
Having read and loved The Good Earth I was excited to find Dragon Seed in my local op-shop. It seemed to have a similar theme to TGE but I had not heard of it before and was thinking maybe it was a lesser novel and not one that made much of a splash. Then I saw that it had won the Nobel Prize for literature when it was written. So, I read and found that just like The Good Earth I marveled at what an amazing writer and story teller Pearl S. Buck is. The story centers around a small farming family...more
While this will never be one of my all time favorites, especially in comparison to Buck's The Good Earth, it was a worthy book. I did not like the ending of it, as it was somewhat anticlimactic, and felt as though with the many facets of the novel in place, something still needed to be said on certain fronts. However, there were things I did love about this book.

I love Pearl Buck's style of writing, and this book was certainly in keeping with her usual work. She has a simple, storyteller's voic...more
I liked this book more than I thought I would. It was somewhat slow going at first and I felt like I was listening to it (I listened to the audiobook version) because I should. But it finally caught me and I became very involved with it. I felt that Ms. Buck really conveyed the isolation of the mostly illiterate villagers, who knew very little beyond their own village and the nearby city (probably Nanking). Also well-portrayed were the petty jealousies, fears and everyday lives of the people and...more
James Oliver Burns
This is a story of a simple family in the late 1930's in a country village in China, they were an ordinary farm family who lived their lives as their ancestors had a hundred years before them. It was a village where just about everyone was related one way or another. The family consisted of a wise and patient father who was the head of the family, a strong mother, the two eldest sons who were married, with the eldest having children and the third son who was the most handsome and the laziest, th...more
Very interesting book, I enjoyed reading about the villagers perspectives of invasion and being taken over, as well as different people's responses to their fate. Eloquently written, definitely recommend!
Patricia Welker
Dragon Seed is not for everyone at all. This is a book about war and you won't get any pleasure out of it. Farmers planting and reaping since the dawn of time, Ling Tan and his wife and family try to keep their souls as the East-Ocean people bring war, famine, rape and evil to his country. "You who have wisdom stored in your skulls, you have a treasure which ought not to be spilled like blood.... In times like these wisdom is useless because nothing can save us except the chance that we are save...more
Mary Etta
Book group selection for May 2009.

I really liked this classic. I hadn't really liked "The Good Earth." Although I knew Pearl S. Buck's connections with China, the writing of Earth didn't seem convincing to me--it seemed written by a foreigner. Not true with "Dragon Seed."

The writing is sometimes poetic and lyrical and always respectful of the culture--what little I know of it. The tradition is there, the superstition, the lack of knowledge of anything outside their 20 miles in the late '30s, as...more
Buku ini bercerita tentang kondisi sebuah keluarga Cina dengan setting Perang Dunia ke II ketika Jepang melakukan agresi ke Cina.

Ling Tan seorang petani kelas menengah merupakan seorang tokoh yang disegani di desanya. Ling Tan menikah dengan Ling Siao. Pernikahan tersebut melahirkan 3 anak laki-laki yakni Lao Ta, Lao Erl, Lao San serta 2 anak perempuan yakni Pansiao dan seorang perempuan yang dinikahi oleh pedagang Wu Lien.

La Tao yang pekerja keras menikah dengan Orchid dan dikaruniai 2 anak. La...more
Very well presented view of the Japanese occupation of China as viewed through the eyes of a Chinese peasant farming community. The insights into the emotional and philosophical perspectives of the village inhabitants are compelling reading. Some people weren't satisfied with the ending, but I found it well suited to the tone of the book. I gave this a high rating because I enjoyed the writing style, as well as the insight into the culture, values, and norms of a portion of a society that I know...more
Picked this in desperation for something to read late one night and can't believe I've put this down so many times before, dismissing it as boring. I'm so in love with this family in China in the 40's and can't wait to find out if they make it thru the big crisis of invasion.
Two days later...browsing thru new library book about Pearl Buck, I happened upon a reference to this book and was horrified to find that this book is about rape,rape, and more rape. My least favorite subject to read or he...more
Norma Christensen
This was a good novel of a Chinese family living through the invasion of their country by enemy forces and how they learn to survive among the worst of conditions. The novel seemed to me, to be written by a Chinese person in its wording. What I did not like about it was that the author never stated where the novel took place or the year or who the enemy was. I suppose it was meant to be universally good versus bad. Also at the end I wanted to have more of the story of the younger son Lao San and...more
I don't know why I never read Pearl Buck, but alas I have not. It's not the writing that was amazing, necessarily, but the story that carried this along. Given how often the headlines between Japan and China focus on who has forgiven whom for what happened in WWII, this is a good introduction to why the Chinese might still harbor some resentment. To put it mildly.
This novel, written in early in WW II, deals with the Japanese invasion of Nanking. Not surpisingly, the prose and the characterizations evoke Pearl Buck's China. She doesn't pull any punches when it comes to describing the brutality of the Japanese toward the Chinese, even though she adheres to the conventions of her day about graphic detail. The novel very neatly explores how various kinds of people fared during the occupation: the old farmer intent on living and dying on his land; his wife an...more
Mind Bird
Mar 30, 2013 Mind Bird rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all
A good book on the real horrors of war. It slightly idealizes the family at the center of the book---the patriarch actually cares for his wife, actually cares about his sons' marital preferences, refuses footbinding,, and treats the women of the family better than the average bear---while still being pretty true to what peasants are like. Only slowly does it become clear we are in the 20th century.

It doesn't much idealize the missionaries, teaching frightened children in the middle of a war to m...more
I got this book at a library sale and started reading it having no idea what it was about. While I went through a stage reading the book where I could only read one chapter and then had to put it down because it was a little emotionally draining, it was a really good book. I think from now on I will do a little research before I start reading, however. I also read up a little on Pearl S. Buck and found her life to be very interesting, she lived in China for much of her life and actually wrote th...more
Alex Decker
I perused several reviews prior to reading this book. The general consensus was that it was a difficult book to read. I agree with this, to an extent. The story traces the ups and downs of a peasant family during times of war. Initially I worried about Buck's ability to relate to people that have a vastly different background than from her own. Even though she had spent much of her life in China, mostly in rural areas, I remained skeptical. I'll never be able to comfortably answer how close she...more
What a wonderful book. It was just what I needed at the time- something substantial but gentle. The story is similar to much of the Asian literature I've read. Picturesque with beautiful images and a gentle philosophy. Of course, the war described of the invasion of China by the Japanese was not gentle, but the viewpoint that the book primarily takes of the older farmer who loves his land is quiet and beautiful. The wife is just so no-nonsense, which is refreshing. The characters were for the mo...more
Un bel libro americano d'altri tempi:niente sesso,niente parolacce,buoni sentimenti,una buona dose di retorica e tanti,tanti luoghi comuni.
Naturalmente,è ben scritto,e si legge in un niente,nonostante le sue 400 pagine e passa.La prima volta che l'ho letto,tanti anni fa,mi era piaciuto molto;ma ora...ora l'ho trovato troppo distante da ciò che sono e da ciò che è il mondo in cui viviamo,come se fosse una bella favola,nonostante parli di una guerra.Molti classici mantengono
la loro forza,la loro...more
Apr 26, 2014 Janice marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I decided that I wasn't being drawn into this book and decided to let it go with best wishes for another happier reader.

I felt like the time era was centuries old given the life style and lack of modern conveniences. They used buffalo to plow, walked to the city, etc. The city couldn't have been very far away since they could walk there in a few hours. Then, silver birds came and dropped something that cratered a field, and the farmers had no idea what it was. Maybe it was like that for rural f...more
Gave this one four stars as the book as a whole was very well developed and interesting but.....the end was a bit disappointing to me as it ended in more of a fairy tale style than the cold hard reality of the rest of the book. Set in China during WWII, it tell the tale of the ordinary people of China and what they went through during the war. There was no sugar coating in the first 3/4 of the book. Perhaps the editors were afraid we would all need antidepressants after reading most of the book...more
I've read dozens upon dozens of Pearl S. Buck's books, and this one continues to be one of my favorites. In short, a Chinese family deals with the brutal invasion by the Japanese during WWII, and they struggle for enough hope to keep on living and doing the best they can under the circumstances. It is a time of cultural upheaval, not to mention worldwide upheaval, and this family clings to the hope that all the turmoil will leave them and their family whole. They recogize Heaven's blessings amid...more
This was the hardest Pearl Buck book I've read. It was really hard to read about the things that happened to the Chinese women during WW2 when the Japanese attacked mainland China, but I think that Buck did a fantastic job of showing the reality of the situation and the ways that people found hope to move forward. I think this book had some of her best and most complicated characters in it, and I really loved the different types of women and how they reacted differently to the violence and the h...more
A book about a family and village of Chinese peasants at the start of the Japanese invasion of China; this novel takes you through to the middle of the war, when the United States becomes involved. It's well-written, engaging, and sheds light on the extraordinary courage that the Chinese peasant displayed in the face of tyranny; both the oppression of the invaders, and the betrayals and untrustworthiness of their countrymen. I recommend this book to anyone.
Published in 1941 this novel deals with the rape of Nankin- but is observed from the view of Chinese 'peasants' and is thus much more engaging than some other accounts. Buck's first-hand knowledge of China and its people make this book much richer and more approachable than it could otherwise be. Much as I loved Buck's "The Good Earth" when I read it years ago, I would almost say this was better, especially if you've also read "The Rape Of Nankin".
Enjoyed this a lot. Though the book was rather thick and the premise didn't seem very exciting, the story was compelling and gripping. It seemed to capture the full range of reactions and emotions that people experience during a war. I nearly cried when the courtesans gave themselves up to save the other women from the Japanese. The only thing I didn't like was how the third son found his 'goddess' to marry as it seemed rather far-fetched.
Ally Armistead
4 out of 5 stars for Pearl S. Buck's "Dragon Seed." Does a wonderful job of exploring the point of view of the Chinese rural farmer during the Rape of Nanking. Will break your heart, but will also give you hope. Helped my research tremendously (for my own novel), confirming Japanese propaganda, dif...ferences between the rural and city populations, and the struggles of Minnie Vautrin to hold the fort at Ginling College.
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Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (1892–1973) was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to t...more
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The Good Earth (House of Earth, #1) Pavilion of Women Imperial Woman Peony Sons (House of Earth, #2)

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