What We Are Reading Today: Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister 

Updated 04 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister 

Author: Jung Chang

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister is the fascinating collective biography of the Soong sisters of Shanghai — three strong-willed, passionate, and independent women who influenced the development of modern China and Taiwan, often from opposing political camps.
Jung Chang’s research “is impressive, delving into archives in the US, the UK, Taiwan, Russia and Hong Kong, as well as diaries, interviews with the Soong’s family and friends, and eyewitness accounts of various events. The result is a vivid and detailed historical book” said a review in goodreads.com.
Jiayang Fan said in a review for The New York Times that Chang’s book “is a riveting read, but at times her focus — on disproving her initial bland impression of the sisters — can feel narrow.”
The review added: “In her introduction to Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister, Jung Chang recalls her first impression of the Soong sisters as ‘fairy-tale figure’ who, in contrast to the subjects of her previous biographies — Mao and the Empress Dowager Cixi — seemed free of “mental conflicts or agonizing decisions.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Updated 11 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Politics of Pain

Author: Fintan O’Toole

This is a book about the UK exiting from Brexit. “England’s recent lurch to the right appears to be but one example of the nationalist wave sweeping across the world, yet as acclaimed Irish critic Fintan O’Toole suggests in The Politics of Pain, it is, in reality, a phenomenon rooted in the second World War,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“After the war the UK did not end up as good as they wanted to be. So they were in the European Nation but in 2016 they decided to leave it. They were seeking a new national destiny to shape a new political life and England wanted to be reborn in a new unity that was not with Europe. However, the author does not think their plan went exactly the way they wanted it go,” said the review.
O’Toole is a columnist, assistant editor and drama critic for The Irish Times.
He is a literary critic, historical writer and political commentator, with generally left-wing views. He was and continues to be a strong critic of corruption in Irish politics.