The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II was written by Iris Chang. It was originally published in 1997, the same year of the 60th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre during the second Sino-Japanese war.

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The Rape of Nanking tells of the episodes of the mass rape, massacre and other atrocities the Japanese soldiers committed against the people of Nanking during its conquest in December 1937 and lasted for six or so weeks. Nanking, then capital city of China, went through the one of the worst mass murder in modern history. 

The book is divided into three parts. The first part was the events that happened during the “rape” of Nanking. The second part tells of what the other countries thought of the these events. And third, the author’s own analysis of the events, the cause why these events happened and why these remained unnoticed and unrecognized even decades after the war.

Iris Chang’s writing style was very direct and this I think is one of the best things about this book along with the remarkable number of survivors who helped/contributed in its creation.

The Rape of Nanking was a successful book specially that it reached many people around the globe specially in the west where very little or nothing is known about the massacre. However, this success came with a cost. Chang received several death threats and harassment. Since the release of the book, she also suffered from depression and sleep deprivation. She carried the burden and felt responsible to tell the world the truth and the facts regarding the “rape” of Nanking. In the end, she killed herself and Nanking claimed another victim.

Quotable Quotes:

“Looking back upon millennia of history, it appears clear that no race or culture has monopoly on wartime cruelty. The veneer of civilization seems to be exceedingly thin – one that can be easily stripped away, especially by the stresses of war.”

“As the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel warned years ago, to forget a holocaust is to kill twice.”

“Almost all people have this potential for evil, which would be unleashed only under certain dangerous social circumstances.”

Rating: 5/5 stars