Stories of our century: “Wild swans”

This programme is part of the series Stories of Our Century
Chinese poster evoking the communist party’s mobilisation of its members to practice agriculture (© Wikipedia)

In 1999, Radio Netherlands broadcast a series of 12 programmes telling the story of the 20th century through famous books. In each programme, a guest speaker gives us the historical background behind the story in the book and tells us about the actual events that inspired it.

In the award-winning book “Wild Swans”, published in 1991, author Jung Chang tells the personal histories of three generations of Chinese women: her grandmother, her mother and herself. This best-selling real-life narrative recounts the drama of life and survival in 20th-century China from the Manchu dynasty to Mao and modernism.

The guest speaker is professor Ross Terrill, an Australian historian and Research Associate of Chinese Studies at Harvard University.

Producer: Jane Murphy

Broadcast: 1999

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