Although the Second World War officially started in 1939, it was preceded by some horrific atrocities. For instance, in December 1937, one of history’s most brutal—and forgotten—massacres took place when the Japanese army destroyed Nanking (what was then the capital of China).

Over the course of several weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered. Iris Chang’s grandparents were among the witnesses of this tragedy and barely escaped the massacre.

The author decided to tell about these notorious events and wrote a book titled The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. She tells this history from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers, that of the Chinese, and that of a group of Westerners who refused to leave the city and created a safety zone, which saved lives of almost 300,000 Chinese.

Based on numerous interviews with those who survived and documents brought to light for the first time, Iris Chang‘s classic book is the definitive history of this appalling episode.

“Chang vividly, methodically, records what happened, piecing together the abundant eyewitness reports into an undeniable tapestry of horror.”—Adam Hochschild, Salon

If you want to find other works by Iris Chang or learn more about the author herself, please, visit

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