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Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister Reviews

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China

Jung Chang

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication date: 17 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781910702789

The best-known modern Chinese fairy tale is the story of three sisters from Shanghai, who for most of the twentieth century were active at the centre of power in China. It was sometimes said that `One loved money, one loved power and one loved her country', but the Soong sisters were far more than these caricatures.

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5 stars out of 5
Caroline Sanderson
12 Jul 2019

"As well as being gripped by story of the sisters, I learned so much about 20th-century China"

Chang's Wild Swans, published in 1991, remains among my favourite biographies. Her new book also stars a trio of extraordinary women, whose lives form the subject of the best-known modern Chinese fairytale-but they are little known to Western readers. Based on extensive first-hand research and interviews, as well as Chang's experience of growing up in Maoist China, it's the engrossing story of the three Soong sisters from Shanghai, each of whom played a crucial role in shaping modern China, witnessing war, revolution and seismic transformations along the way.

Ching-ling (Red Sister) married the founding father of the Chinese republic and later became Mao's vice-chair. May-ling (Little Sister) married Chiang Kai-shek, and became first lady of pre-Communist Nationalist China, and a political figure in her own right; while Ei-ling (Big Sister) was chief advisor to Chiang. All three enjoyed tremendous privilege and fame, but also endured constant attacks and mortal danger as well as heartbreak and despair. And the relationship between the three sisters was highly charged, particularly once they embraced opposing political camps. As well as being gripped by story of the sisters, I learned so much about 20th-century China.