The dramatic and fascinating story of Chai Ling, commander-in-chief of the student protesters at Tiananmen Square and witness to the massacre of thousands of Chinese civilians. Risking imprisonment and possible death for her leadership role in the student democracy movement, she was on the run in China for ten months while being hunted by the authorities.
She eventually escaped to the U.S., completed her education at Princeton and Harvard, found true love, and became a highly successful entrepreneur. But her desperate quest for freedom, purpose, and peace--which she had sought in turn through academic achievement, romantic love, political activism, and career success--was never satisfied until she had an unexpected encounter with a formerly forbidden faith. Her newfound passion for God led to her life's greatest mission: Fighting for the lives and rights of young girls in China.
- 2 stars for audio, not content
This audiobook edition is narrated by Karen White.
Karen White reads in a higher-pitched voice that borders on grinding one's ears. Ling's tale is a good one: freeing the women of children. However, the audio edition does it no justice.
White's attempt resulted in a grating narration, reminding listeners of a whine found in young toddlers. Add an odd inflection that seems more like a elementary school teacher emphasizing the difficult and/or descriptive words, and listeners will find their patience unfortunately tested. After critical thought, it seems as if White spoke primarily Chinese, then read the Chinese aloud in English. Lastly, the inappropriate pace for audiobook narration asserts this thought of the translation being performed during the recording.
I was unable to finish listening to the audio, as my ears were tested to their limits by this narration. The content of the book seems to be an excellent choice for those interested in China and feminism in China, and Ling's story of encouragement and hope would call out to readers, but the narration simply makes this audio edition better passed on for the written word.
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- Great insight into the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
This is the story of Chai Ling, a leader of the student movement in Tiananmen Square. However, it is much more than that. It is the story of many people who grew up in China during the seventies and eighties. In A Heart for Freedom, Chai Ling recounts her life story from her earliest recollections through those tragic days in Beijing leading up to her eventual escape and life in the United States. This account from one of the students who was involved in the movement from the beginning brings insight into the thoughts and actions of the students who were protesting.
The audio book is well written and goes into extreme details that you don’t find in most accounts of the massacre. But what makes this book stand out is the way the author gives you details of her childhood years leading up to her becoming one of China’s most wanted enemies of the state. By the time you arrive at the events in Tiananmen you, the reader, are involved in the life of this young woman. Chai Ling is so open and honest about her not so upright past, that you can not help but sympathize with her. The in-depth chapters revolving around the student protests will give you a new-found respect for those who suffered so much to try to obtain a little freedom.
The audio book is narrated by Karen White, who does an excellent job with a very difficult work. Seeming to handle all of the hard Chinese pronunciations with ease the narrator becomes the voice of Chai Ling. Her voice is so calming and soothing that it made the audio book a pleasure to listen to.
The only negative that I can say about this book is that it is that the story is so detailed it does seem too long at times. However, looking back over the entire work, I would be hard pressed to edit this book down to any shorter length. The facts and thoughts are so important to the feelings of those who were involved with this massacre that the end result would not be the same if there were less detail given.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about what took place at Tiananmen Square in Beijing China on June 4th 1989. If you read A Heart for Freedom you can not help but be touched by the extraordinary life of Chai Ling and the lives of those students that participated in the protests. You will gain new insights on what really happened on those fateful days in China. And you will be moved by the work of Jesus Christ in the life of this young woman, who after having four abortions, leading the student protest, and eventually escaping to the United States via Hong Kong and France, became a strong Christian benefactor for young females in China.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this audio book as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work. For more information about this and other Christian audio books visit christianaudio.com.