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Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  50,960 ratings  ·  6,928 reviews
This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how you can be humbled by a 13-year-old. ...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published 2011 by Bloomsbury
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Lily Lu I was abused by my father, and no, this book is not in support of child abuse. In fact, I think to claim so is to mock people who actually went throug…moreI was abused by my father, and no, this book is not in support of child abuse. In fact, I think to claim so is to mock people who actually went through child abuse.(less)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Disclosure: A friend linked me to Amy Chua's Wall Street Journal article when it first appeared. I admit, my first reaction was a mixture of anger and bitterness, since I recognized much of my own childhood in how Amy Chua treated her daughters. I read several reviews from journalists, Chinese children, Chinese parents, Western parents, Western children and so on. Amy Chua is assigned a gamut of roles, from crazy batshit insane to the messiah of parenting. I thought I should read the book and ju ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of my friends may be horrified, BUT I do not believe Amy Chua is the devil. I actually agree with a lot of what she believes. Although sometimes she may go over the top with it (keeping your daughter up practicing until after midnight is just not okay in my book), I think that this disciplined, practice-practice-practice idea is the way to achieve greatness.

It's funny. Yesterday in the car, I was explaining to my daughter Bianca my theory on talents. It went like this: I think that having
Before I finish reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, I would put Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window up as an antidote.

Like Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Totto-chan is also a memoir about the upbringing of children (mostly focuses on the little girl main character: Totto-chan), but it sends an entirely different message to its readers.

Disclaimer 1: I'm a Chinese and I had my own taste of strict parenting throughout my childhood, but comparing with what Amy Chua's daughters had gone
Frank Costelloe
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! This family is so interesting it reads almost like fiction. It has been a long time since I could pick up a book and thoroughly enjoy it, but this one was a breeze to enjoy. It's so entertaining. She is funny, witty, intelligent, and more.
I have read a lot of criticism about her parenting style. I can understand why people might criticize her, but when I have looked deeper into her actions and read the book more carefully I see that she is a very caring mother. Her style is j
Elisha Condie
Apr 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-clubs
Holy cow, I hate this lady so much. Her book kind of gives me a headache, but I can't stop reading it. I hope it doesn't end with one of her kids waving a gun around at a piano recital, but I won't be surprised if it does.

I slept on it before I finished my review of this book, seeing if it would make me more calm... but nope. Amy Chua is just appalling! I can't stand this woman. She pushes her daughters to be the best at everything, because if you're not the best then you're garbage (a term s
May 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this book and really won't recommend it except to argue with anyone who agrees with author Chua that she has an imitable or admirable parenting style. Her tone was superior and smug, all the while mostly a "brag book" about her talented, abused daughters and how SHE made them so successful. I don't understand a husband and father standing by listening to the insults and humiliation, disguised and excused as a fierce maternal love, heaped by his wife onto his precious daughters. No ...more
Julie Bernstein
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a mother who has taken a pretty staunchly anti-tiger approach to parenting, I took this book on more as an exercise in cultural literacy. I expected my feathers to be ruffled (and they were), and to be furiously highlighting areas of philosophical difference (and I was - my Kindle got quite the workout).

What I didn't expect was a well-written memoir with honesty, wit and even self-deprecation and self-questioning between the lines. The author admitted that she wasn't yet sure about 'how it w
Ugh... I am neither a Tiger Mother or a Pushover. Granted, my daughter is only 4. Should I be concerned that she is not fluent in a second language, that she isn't reading and despite a year of ballet is not on deck to be a prima ballerina? Of course not. There is time for all of that.

I have taught middle school for 15 years. I see the impact of both types of parents. As a result I have 8th graders on the verge of nervous breakdowns, ulcers or both because their parents demand nothing short of p
Petra - trying to lose weight is major deprivation
Nothing like as extreme as some reviews would have you think. It's an upper-middle class very educated family trying to get their kids on the same track as themselves. It seems like Tigger Daddy said that if Tiger Mother wanted to raise them in that hothousing and exhausting way and was prepared to do the pushing, pulling, chauffering and putting up with rebellion, then fair enough, but he was going to be Nice Daddy and just be there for kisses, hugs and recitals.

In any case, it didn't last. Whe
Nov 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There's no way to review a book like this without disclosing some of my upbringing because it shaded how I saw all of this while reading. My father had... control issues. I wouldn't consider him a "Chinese mother" because it was more about dominance than it was about the individual success of any of the children. A slip in any grade would definitely result in extreme punishment, but it would also take a lot less... a lot less.

My main problem with the Chinese childrearing system is it can easily
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
UPDATE, 4.11.2021

Wow I read this book literally a decade ago when I was in high school so um, please ignore my original review or read it from the perspective of a high schooler lol. I'm providing this update because of how problematic Amy Chua is in how she has exploited the model minority myth for her own gain so yikes. I'm leaving my 4-star rating for now just because I haven't gone back and picked out specific problematic aspects of the book, but I do want to leave some resources for those w
Nandakishore Mridula
I am dropping this book halfway. Not because it's unreadable - it's actually engagingly written - but because it triggers me on so many levels.

Amy Chua is of the school which believes "spare the rod, spoil the child". No, she does not seem to advocate corporal punishment, but she drives her children like a drill sergeant (rather like the Sarge in Sad Sack comics). According to her, this is the Chinese way (as opposed to the Western way) and it helps them realise their full potential. In contrast
Books Ring Mah Bell
Amy Chua screams at her daughters more than prepubescent girls scream at Justin Bieber. (At least the screaming girls are screaming affectionate things at the Biebs.) See, Amy is a "Tiger Mother". She DEMANDS perfection from her children on all fronts. For example, she forces them to practice their instruments for hours on end, and when the pieces played are not PERFECT, she yells things like, "you are a disgrace!" and also threatens to burn their stuffed animals.

Holy Moly.

For quite awhile, sh
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me make it clear that I am giving this book four stars not because I necessarily agree with Ms. Chua's ideas and parenting style, but because I found this book highly engaging, funny, and moving. I respect Ms. Chua's honesty in portraying herself as a fanatic mom who wants what's best for her girls even to the point of making them unhappy.

Amy Chua is a Chinese mother and in Chinese tradition, the children are expected to study hard and be the best at everything---academically and musically.
The Scarecrow
Jun 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Abusive parents and soul-less automatons
Recommended to The Scarecrow by: My mom's friend
I don't know if you've ever seen Glee. There's an episode in season 1 where an opposing group named Vocal Adrenalin perform "Another One Bites the Dust", throwing the main Glee club (New Directions, the dumbest name ever) into a depressed funk. Once they get out of it, they perform the one thing VA apparently can't...a funk number. Anyway, Vocal Adrenalin look gobsmacked, and it's this exchange that reminds me of this book;
Jonathan: They did a funk number. We've never been able to pull off a fun
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't resist reading this one, especially after following all the media buzz about Chua and her "extreme" ideas. Confession: I found a lot of her practices less startling than apparently much of the general public, as we have (apparently!) been somewhat "stricter" with our own kids than many people today. To mimic Chua: A list of the things my kids haven't done: - Watch limitless hours of television (no cable TV here since my eldest was 5) - play video or computer games non-stop - fiddle with ...more
Skylar Burris
When it comes to cultural differences, as G.K. Chesterton notes in his essay on “The French and the English,” every cultural vice is partly a virtue, and every cultural virtue is partly a vice. The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother mucks about in this uncomfortable truth. It explores, sometimes in sweeping stereotypes, sometimes in subtler ways, the differences between Asian and American culture, as seen through the lens of parenting.

Full review here.

Nov 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
I teach in a school with a large Asian population. One of my colleagues told me I HAD to read this book. Before I read it, my sense was that Amy Chua's critics were ethnocentric and ignorant of Asian culture. After all, I'm a pretty big fan of the Chinese. Like Chua, I think most American parents are way too permissive and too concerned about their children's self-esteem. I also highly value academic achievement; I detest mediocrity and I consider myself a bitchy elitist in general. So while I e ...more
Lee Anne
Anyone who is Asian (which I am not), or read an Amy Tan novel (which I have), will recognize the overbearing, hyper-critical, driven, martyred Chinese mother. Amy Chua strikes a bargain with her Jewish husband: if she "allows" him to raise their two daughters in the Jewish faith, he will "allow" her to raise them in the Chinese way. That means each must play a musical instrument, and practice said instrument several hours every day (even on weekends and vacations); each must earn straight A's ( ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with Chinese mothers
Shelves: non-fiction, china, memoir
Chances are, if you're Chinese American, or even Asian American, you've probably heard about the uproar Amy Chua's article in the Wall Street Journal caused. With an incendiary title like "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior", it's hard not to get all riled up. Unlike most people who just read the article, or skim it, choosing to form their opinions on what an editor left out, I decided to read Chua's book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother before commenting too much about it.

Although the newspaper a
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: book-club, 2011
With all the hype leading up to this book, I thought that it would anger me, but instead I ended up agreeing with much of "Tiger Mother's" philosophy. Of course, there are some things that were too extreme, but many of her comments about "Westerners" are very true. And the birthday card chapter that has caused so much outrage? I loved it! She was totally justified! I've seen my children pull out a piece of scratch paper and whip out a birthday card in less than a minute. When I've received those ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, memoir
Okay, I know I might get in trouble for saying this, but I sympathize with Amy Chua. I keep seeing all the flak this remarkable woman (re: former editor of Harvard Law Review, current law professor at Yale, mother of two musical prodigies and math whizzes, and the list continues...) is getting for being honest about her parenting methods, and it really disheartens me. Why are David Brooks and other otherwise respectable reviewers wasting time calling Chua names when the real criticism should be ...more
Melissa Provost
i love buying books and having them- i'm glad i borrowed this one. it was interesting, but sort of self-indulgent, and ultimately missed the point. it's sort of an excuse for some pretty impressive emotional abuse, blamed on being chinese. the author really tries hard to make it seem like if you criticize her parenting, you're criticizing chinese culture, but it's just not the case. she sees "western" and "chinese" as mutually exclusive throughout, and decides in the end that a blend of methods ...more
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original review found here:

I'm guessing I don't have to do much to introduce this book to you, as it has already received quite a bit of attention in the news, on Facebook, on blogs and message boards and everywhere else. I must say that last week I spent more time than I should have defending this book to those who had only read the one article in the Wall Street Journal and I've read so many incendiary comments addressing it that I finally had to walk a
Rachel C.
This book definitely has that magical "unputdownable" quality. I started reading it while waiting for the bus and was immediately engrossed. So much so that I definitely neglected my work to sneak in a few more chapters throughout the day.

I think the media's shrill reaction to the book is largely unwarranted. Excerpts taken out of context are inflammatory for sure. But I think, as a whole, Amy Chua is pretty frank about both her strengths and her insane moments, and admits several times that she
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads, audio
Decided to listen to this as a breezy audiobook during a few long runs, simply because people are getting all upset and I wanted to know what Amy Chua really had to say. I was vaguely familiar with her academic work on markets, democracy, and globalization (2002's World on Fire).

I listened to this as memoir, which is what Chua intended, and certainly not as a parenting manual! Unfortunately, as a memoirist she's too self-aggrandizing. Her tone is often sarcastic, relentlessly provocative, intend
Kristi Holmes Espineira
I really wanted to hate this book. I remember being appalled by the excerpt that came out in the Wall Street Journal -- the one that set off all the brouhaha in the media about this book. But I think what many of the reviews and comments missed is that this is not a child-rearing treatise or a how-to manual -- it's a memoir. And it's a very bittersweet. touching and funny one, as well as being extremely honest. I admire Amy Chua's bravery in putting it all out there -- her finest and worst momen ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childcare
I see a lot of outrage in the reviews and I must say that I don't quite understand where all of this is coming from.

First of all my mother's parenting style was very lax, she wasn't very present for me emotionally, she's done certain things very right, others very wrong, either way I do know that she always tried her best and wanted the best for my brother, sisters and me.

I ended up having a lot of stress and attachment related issues (between other things), I put a ridiculous amount of pressur
Duffy Pratt
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I basically had to read this book. My wife is from Shanghai. She teaches piano, so I have some exposure to many Asian parents. I went to Yale Law School. And we own two Samoyeds. So there were simply too many points of connection. On the other hand, I don't have kids.

I admire the book for a number of reasons. She writes very well, and its extremely easy to read. It's a memoir, but she pretty much casts herself as the villain. She at times has a bit of a sense of humor about herself and seems to
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Where I got the book: from the library.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is Amy Chua's much touted (I could say notorious) memoir of how she raised her two daughters to become academic high achievers and musical prodigies using Chinese methods. Chua states up front that her sweeping assessments of the relative virtues of "Chinese parents" and "Western parents" are just that, very broad opinions, and that Chinese-style parenting can be found in many non-Asian homes, typically where the parents are
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Amy L. Chua (born 1962) is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She joined the Yale faculty in 2001 after teaching at Duke Law School. Prior to starting her teaching career, she was a corporate law associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She specializes in the study of international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and th ...more

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