Wild Swans, Jung Chang
This biography is so eye opening. Jung Chang uses traces her family history back through her own lifetime, her mother and her grandmother in order to comment on the larger history of China from 1900 up until 1980s. Her grandmother had her feet bound according to tradition and was ‘married’ off to a warlord as a concubine. Her mother and father were communist officials under Mao’s initial reign, although later fell out of favour during the cultural revolution. Prior to this book, I knew nothing of China’s history and had absolutely no idea it was so brutal. It is written with honesty and is so personal it really draws you in. Banned in China, it is a bestseller in other countries, and Jung Chang has also written a biography of Mao.