Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: The Rape of Nanking

For my nonfiction reading challenge I read The Rape of Nanking. It's a book I've seen on the bookshelf for many years alongside many other thick historical books and I really never knew what it was about. I had decided though to take on some thick history books and I asked my dad for suggestions and that was one of the ones he recommended.
Side note... there are a ton of really thick history books on that bookshelf and I have the feeling my Dad's read them all. I doubt I will ever be able to surpass him in reading. Maybe... someday.
Actually though, The Rape of Nanking isn't too thick and was probably the skinniest on the shelf. There are plenty of thicker ones. It did live up to my dad's recommendation though and I found it to be an exceptional piece of historical literature.
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: In December 1937, the Japanese army invaded the ancient city of Nanking, systematically raping, torturing, and murdering more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. This book tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved many.
Reading it reminded me of when I read Foxe's Book of Martyrs back in the eighth grade. The horrors that happened in Nanking were quite akin to those in the aforementioned book. It was well written and kept me engaged. I went through the book quickly, maybe helped along by the fact that I was sick, so there wasn't really anything else to do (I guess except cough and blow my nose). ;) The history was fascinating and heartbreaking. It was sad to see that so many of the perpetrators of the horrors were never punished for their crimes. When I read this book I was reminded once again of the depravity of man.
A great book for the history lover and the non-history lover. Highly recommend! 

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