Steve Merrick's Reviews > The Rape of Nanking

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang
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's review
Nov 22, 2011

it was amazing

I remember people would mention Nanking in very hushed terms when I was a kid, then I got to learn what happened there before WW2. I guess there are a number of events in history that were so bad they actually seem to inhabit a different time and space from the rest of us, the Japanese military atrocities in Nanking are one such event, an atrocity so mind bending that it literally turns your stomach as you read this book. Iris Chang has a much stronger stomach than I do because I would have run of screaming if I had had to research this book. If you are curious or mad enough to open this book be advised that you are about to enter a dimension weird and the book itself is a grueling advert for the UN. Yes there are heros and villains but there is not much of a positive light to be found in Nanking other than the occasional glimpses of human spirit and survival that are beyond mere luck. In all honesty I don't know how I finished this one, but I couldn't claim anything other than the book is an ordeal to read because when you think it cant get worse it does and it does and it does.....

It is accessibly written and incredibly well researched, there is nothing to fault the author in any way and she does deserve to get a standing ovation for the research she has put into this subject, its a very brave and long overdue bit of work, but the subject is very hard and brutal, there are many heros but not enough to counterbalance the murderous level of atrocity you will encounter here.

I genuinely don't know if I should recommend this book or not, it is intelligent and very well put together but it has also disturbed the hell out of me since I read it. I can tell you it is authoritative and very finely crafted but I keep coming back to the unfathomable nature of the story.....

It is a brilliant bit of historical work but the subject may be to rough for many of us homo sapiens sapiens out there, but if you are curiouss about it, I can only wish you the best of luck and warn you to expect a few sleepless nights as you read it.

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