I believe that high school students should read "The Rape of Nanking" as an example of historical non-fiction. Author Iris Chang spent two years researching the book. The book talks about the brutality of the Nanking Massacre as no other book has before, so it is a good book for students to think about all the atrocities of the massacre.
High school students should learn about the destruction intolerance, hatred, cultural chauvenism, and the perils of societies which eschew human rights and checks and balances. History is a reminder that we cannot take for granted that the next generation will automatically presume the correctness of tolerance and humility in the face of differences.
If the holocaust is covered and the Roman Empire, and things like witch burnings and whatnot, I do think The Rape of Naking should also be taught. Along with the holocaust in the Americas against the indigenous people here. It was a very disturbing point of history and should be addressed by everyone.
Iris Chang's 'The Rape of Nanking' portrays a period of history largely overlooked, when Japanese soldiers engaged in the wholesale slaughter of Chinese civilians during World War II. As a part of any serious historical study, supplemental materials should be considered, but given the need to understand this important time in history, the book serves as a good starting point for students.
The book is one of the most successful propaganda feats by China, using a young innocent woman. The photos are all fake, there was only one witness at the Tokyo War Tribunal, a Mr. Bates, who saw just one legal killing, records of westerners in Nanking living alongside Chinese under their protection write only of 26 homicide cases with 50 deaths in total during the whole length of the Japanese occupation, of which only one was actually witnessed, the Western correspondent who first reported Japanese "atrocities" in 1938, Timperley of Manchester Guardian, is now known to be a paid employee of Chiang kai-shek's intelligence bureau. Lots of food for thought, politically inconvenient for China then and now and also USA duped in 1945 and to a certain degree today too as it can be a stain in history.
No, this is not one of the great works of all time, and I think that in high school kids need to be reading only the best books that have ever been wrote, so that they get a good sense of how the best needs to look like and sound.