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Tank Man: How a Photograph Defined China's Protest Movement

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No one knew his name. But soon millions would know about his bravery. For almost two months in spring 1989, Beijing's Tiananmen Square had been the site of growing protests against China's hardline communist government. In early June, China's leaders had had enough. In a matter of days soldiers cleared the square. They used sticks and cattle prods. They shot rubber bullets No one knew his name. But soon millions would know about his bravery. For almost two months in spring 1989, Beijing's Tiananmen Square had been the site of growing protests against China's hardline communist government. In early June, China's leaders had had enough. In a matter of days soldiers cleared the square. They used sticks and cattle prods. They shot rubber bullets, then real ones. They used bayonets. Student protesters fought back with firebombs and rocks, but they were no match for the soldiers. Gunfire still rang out in parts of Beijing, but China's leaders felt in control. As tanks rumbled through the streets near Tiananmen Square, a man in a white shirt came suddenly into view. He held up his right hand, like a police officer trying to halt traffic. The first huge tank in a row of four stopped just a few feet in front of the man. The tanks behind it stopped as well. Photographer Jeff Widener took a picture of the brave protester halting the huge armored fighting vehicles. The image was soon sent around the world, becoming one of the most famous photographs ever.


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No one knew his name. But soon millions would know about his bravery. For almost two months in spring 1989, Beijing's Tiananmen Square had been the site of growing protests against China's hardline communist government. In early June, China's leaders had had enough. In a matter of days soldiers cleared the square. They used sticks and cattle prods. They shot rubber bullets No one knew his name. But soon millions would know about his bravery. For almost two months in spring 1989, Beijing's Tiananmen Square had been the site of growing protests against China's hardline communist government. In early June, China's leaders had had enough. In a matter of days soldiers cleared the square. They used sticks and cattle prods. They shot rubber bullets, then real ones. They used bayonets. Student protesters fought back with firebombs and rocks, but they were no match for the soldiers. Gunfire still rang out in parts of Beijing, but China's leaders felt in control. As tanks rumbled through the streets near Tiananmen Square, a man in a white shirt came suddenly into view. He held up his right hand, like a police officer trying to halt traffic. The first huge tank in a row of four stopped just a few feet in front of the man. The tanks behind it stopped as well. Photographer Jeff Widener took a picture of the brave protester halting the huge armored fighting vehicles. The image was soon sent around the world, becoming one of the most famous photographs ever.

40 review for Tank Man: How a Photograph Defined China's Protest Movement

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Kahn

    Interesting. Well-designed with plenty of white space and a photo on nearly every page. Good historical context to help younger readers understand what made this photo so iconic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is a great entry in the Captured History series since it provides some information about a photograph that captured the attention of the world when it first appeared back in 1989. Filled with large photographs of this pivotal moment in Chinese history when one brave man, one lone protester, stood up against the military might of a county, the book explains how that one photograph brought hope to others. In 1987 several students protested the lack of democracy in China by gathering in Tianan This is a great entry in the Captured History series since it provides some information about a photograph that captured the attention of the world when it first appeared back in 1989. Filled with large photographs of this pivotal moment in Chinese history when one brave man, one lone protester, stood up against the military might of a county, the book explains how that one photograph brought hope to others. In 1987 several students protested the lack of democracy in China by gathering in Tiananmen Square. After the government grew tired of the protests that continued for months, soldiers were ordered to clear the area of protesters in 1989. They did so in whatever way necessary, including resorting to violence. In the midst of all this uncertainty, photographer Jeff Widener shot a photograph of one man in a white shirt standing alone against a column of tanks. Although no one knows who that man was or even what happened to him later, clearly he—and the famous photograph—represented the hope for freedom amid almost hopeless odds and military might. This book and its unforgettable photograph offer much food for thought about what is worth possibly sacrificing one’s life for and the courage it took to stand alone against those tanks. While I'd love to know what happened to Tank Man, in my mind he lives safe, free, and revered, somewhere, knowing that he inspired others to make their own stands.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Maurer

    Sacrifice and survival often times go hand in hand. Jumping ahead 45 years to the other side of the world there was another major movement of survival taking shape. Tank Man: How a Photograph Defined China’s Protest Movement is short but powerful read about students gathering and protesting the Communist government in China. These students used a non violent means to stand up for survival against a harsh government. One man stood in front of a line of tanks to protest the aggressive nature of th Sacrifice and survival often times go hand in hand. Jumping ahead 45 years to the other side of the world there was another major movement of survival taking shape. Tank Man: How a Photograph Defined China’s Protest Movement is short but powerful read about students gathering and protesting the Communist government in China. These students used a non violent means to stand up for survival against a harsh government. One man stood in front of a line of tanks to protest the aggressive nature of the government. One man was able to freeze military vehicles. Sometimes survival means standing up for what you believe. Reading this book made me thankful for the country I live in. Even more importantly it fired me up with student voice. Here were thousands of students(many others as well) who stood up and had their voices heard. I am not suggesting a protest in my school or country, but the notion that we have to sometimes not just talk, but move to action when things are not right. We cannot be the innocent bystander and complain about things we cannot control. The people here sacrificed to promote the survival of their people.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Connor Schmid

    Tank Man by Michael Burgan is a really good nonfiction book. This book is about the protests that happened in China about the government. This was probably the best nonfiction book I have ever read. Tank Man is a person who stood in front of tanks because he did not like the government. The chinese government is a communist government and the chinese oeople do not like it. They want a democracy like in America. The protests have been going on for almost 100 years. I recommend this book to anyone w Tank Man by Michael Burgan is a really good nonfiction book. This book is about the protests that happened in China about the government. This was probably the best nonfiction book I have ever read. Tank Man is a person who stood in front of tanks because he did not like the government. The chinese government is a communist government and the chinese oeople do not like it. They want a democracy like in America. The protests have been going on for almost 100 years. I recommend this book to anyone who likes easy to read nonfiction books. This was a great nonfiction book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aden J

    The book I read was Tank Man and the Genre is adventure. The author is Michael Burgan. The setting is Beijing China and the Maine characters is the mystery man also known as Tank Man. Tank man is a man who bravely stood up to the government and stood in front of many tanks. The book is about the government doing bad thing and the people standing up to them creating The Hungry Act. Also the Tank Man is a hear and is the leader of this act. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars because it was interest The book I read was Tank Man and the Genre is adventure. The author is Michael Burgan. The setting is Beijing China and the Maine characters is the mystery man also known as Tank Man. Tank man is a man who bravely stood up to the government and stood in front of many tanks. The book is about the government doing bad thing and the people standing up to them creating The Hungry Act. Also the Tank Man is a hear and is the leader of this act. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars because it was interesting and not at the same time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Prem

    The book traverse through China & its politics through a single photo. Have never heard of Tank Man before picking this book up. Also the experiences of the photographer(s) who cliked this photo. Very well put book with good amount of photos makes this book a good read. The book traverse through China & its politics through a single photo. Have never heard of Tank Man before picking this book up. Also the experiences of the photographer(s) who cliked this photo. Very well put book with good amount of photos makes this book a good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    excellent book. awful subtitle. This book DOES NOT address how the photograph defined the protest movement. The book explains how the photo came to be, not it's impact on the protest movement. Lots of wonderful photos and interesting narrative.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Morgan

    The story behind one of the most famous photographs in the world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen Ball

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mr Stephen Locker

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly Valluzzi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ms Finley Reads

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ally McCudden

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Patterson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heather Chang

  24. 5 out of 5

    Boscawen Public Library

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tristen H

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  31. 4 out of 5

    Josh F

  32. 4 out of 5

    20eshafer

  33. 5 out of 5

    Levi

  34. 4 out of 5

    Dakota

  35. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  36. 4 out of 5

    Wert

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  38. 4 out of 5

    Liptonfred

  39. 5 out of 5

    Maggy

  40. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Sipila

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