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Summary

Penguin presents the audio edition of Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang.

The best-known modern Chinese fairy tale is the story of three sisters from Shanghai who, for most of the 20th century, were at the centre of power in China. It was sometimes said that ‘one loved money, one loved power and one loved her country’, but there was far more to the Soong sisters than these caricatures. As China battled through a hundred years of wars, revolutions and seismic transformations, each sister played an important, sometimes critical role and left an indelible mark on history.

Red Sister, Ching-ling, married Sun Yat-sen, founding father of the Chinese republic, and later became Mao’s vice chair. Little Sister, May-ling, was Madame Chiang Kai-shek, first lady of the pre-Communist Nationalist China and a major political figure in her own right. Big Sister, Ei-ling, was Chiang’s unofficial main adviser. She made herself one of China’s richest women - and her husband Chiang’s prime minister. All three sisters enjoyed tremendous privilege and glory but also endured constant attacks and mortal danger. They showed great courage and experienced passionate love as well as despair and heartbreak. The relationship between them was highly charged emotionally, especially once they had embraced opposing political camps and Ching-ling dedicated herself to destroying her two sisters’ world.

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is a gripping story of love, war, exile, intrigue, glamour and betrayal which takes us on a monumental journey, from Canton to Hawaii and New York, from exiles’ quarters in Japan and Berlin to secret meeting rooms in Moscow, and from the compounds of the Communist elite in Beijing to the corridors of power in democratic Taiwan. In a group biography that is by turns intimate and epic, Jung Chang reveals the lives of three extraordinary women who helped shape the history of 20th-century China.

©2019 Jung Chang (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

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  • Overall
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Reader should have been coached on pronunciation.

I am totally absorbed by this .As an avid reader of Jung Chang I think it an equal to all her previous works. My only issue with it is with the reader.I feel she should have been coached on the pronunciation of many of the peoples and Chinese provinces names .She seems to get stuck on ' Chiang Kai Shek ' every single time to the point where I am shouting at my player: ' Come on you've said it over 100 times now surely you can string thosw three names together!' I n every other respect a fantastic book.Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent. I couldn't put it down.

I have urged so many people to read this wonderful book. A real feat to produce.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator sounds like she’s still learning to read

Would have been much better to have found a native Chinese actor to read this. Not only does narrator struggle with Chinese words (she sounds like a mother-in-law from the Cotswolds trying to be terribly accurate in her pronunciation after that nice young man came to the W.I to talk to them all about Chinese history). I enjoy the History behind this but do wonder at the author’s poetic license unless she had an exhaustive archive at her disposal.

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It’s not in my librart!

I pre booked this, but can not download to diary even though it says it’s my library. Please help!

2 people found this helpful

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A non essential but insightful biography

A biography within a very historically important period. Although it fails to reach the same grandeur or scope as the previous Mao or Wild Swans.

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It's a good book

The three sisters were at the heart of twentieth century China: revolutions, war, and ... err more revolutions. There have been several books about them already, but I thought I would give this one a go on Audible. Jung Chang presents the 3 sisters as smart, charming and loving - like something from Elinor Brent's Chalet school novels! It is easy to see why their husbands came to rely upon them, but harder to see why they tended to fall for power mad husbands. The husbands fell out - on a geopolitical scale - and let them down badly, but they still remained close to each other. The narrative does do a bit of a jump-cut at a few points. The second world war went by quick! I can see why a few reviewers said it was hard to follow. The widely revered Chiang Kai-shek comes across as a bit of a duffer and a rotter to boot. Several reviews grumble about the narrator, who went slow and careful with every name - every time. She was often surprised when she finished a sentence only to find there it had another few words to fit in. But I thought she did a good job and her matronly tones vibed Chalet school as well.

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Not for audible

This book is too complicated to listen to. Read beautifully but too difficult To follow

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Unable to open

I was so excited that she has written another book. So I’m so disappointed that I can’t open it and listen to it on audible 😢

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Already purchased but unable to download.

I can see in the reviews that others have the same issue. Fix the problem, please.