Dragon Seed (novel)

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Dragon Seed
Dragon Seed book cover.jpg
First edition
AuthorPearl S. Buck
CountryUnited States
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherJohn Day
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook)
Preceded byChina Sky 
Followed byThe Promise 

Dragon Seed is a novel by Pearl S. Buck first published in 1942. It describes the lives of Chinese peasants in a village outside Nanjing, China immediately prior to and during the Japanese invasion in 1937. Some characters seek protection in the city while others become collaborators. This story focuses less on the details of the attack and more on the characters’ reactions to the events in Nanking.[1] The Nanking Massacre (commonly called the Rape of Nanking) involved months of horrific violence by the Imperial Japanese Army as they conquered the city; the novel takes place during these events. Buck opines in the novel that Japanese troops passing through China feel no responsibility for their conduct as they won’t be present to be confronted after the violence is over.

Unlike Buck's earlier novel The Good Earth, Dragon Seed is entirely fictional and based on her own second-hand thoughts rather than personal experience.[2]

The novel was included in Life Magazine's list of the 100 outstanding books of 1924-1944.[3]

In 1944 Dragon Seed was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a film starring Katharine Hepburn, Turhan Bey, Walter Huston and Aline MacMahon.


  1. ^ Brede, Alexander (August 1940). "Review of Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck". The Far Eastern Quarterly. 1 (4): 390. doi:10.2307/2048931.
  2. ^ Hunt, Michael H. (1 January 1977). "Pearl Buck- Popular Expert on China, 1931-1949". Modern China. 3 (1): 33–64. doi:10.2307/188911.
  3. ^ Canby, Henry Seidel (August 14, 1944). "The 100 Outstanding Books of 1924 - 1944". Life Magazine. pp. 13–14.