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Empress Dowager CIXI

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  40 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835 - 1908) brought destruction to the Qing Dynasty, the last feudal dynasty in the long history of China. Written with remarkable charm and verve, this book is a delightful exploration of the history of her extraordinary life and long reign, relating both historical facts and apochryphal anecdotes about her private affairs. How did she climb fro ...more
Published July 20th 2002 by Algora Publishing (first published January 21st 2002)
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Canadian 135
Excellent biography of a truly extraordinary woman, who led China through a period of great transformation. The tale of her rise, from fifth class concubine to ruler of China in late 19th century, is mesmerizing. The description of life in the Forbidden City - initially in the harem, with the concubines, later as Empress - is fascinating. She ushered in a changed relationship with the West, made some significant errors in the Boxer Rebellion, took part in some tremendous palace coups. I can't be ...more
Delicious Strawberry
Even before Cixi died, there were many rumors and speculations floating around her. It was all too easy to use her as a scapegoat and point the finger at her for the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, when in fact, the Qing was under attack well before Cixi was even born, from the Western powers. Even as Empress Dowager, she could only do so much because China was very much a Confucian/patriarchal society, and she was surrounded by princes and male courtiers who often kept knowledge and news from her ...more
A straight ahead but fascinating survey of Empress Cixi's life and how she came to be a driving force in creating a modern China. She rises from being a concubine (not even number one) to running the nation despite the fact that she has to do most of it from behind a yellow curtain since women can't be seen.

Author is fair to the faults in her judgments about Boxer Rebellion and offers a fascinating account of a time that's relatively not written about much.

A great (and I think) fair portrait of a figure that has been much reviled. Also a great way to learn about contemporary Chinese history.
A total winner of a book. A well written book on a fascinating subject. I am so glad I read this.
I wanted to read this prior to our trip to China to learn more about the country. Although I did not finish the book until after we returned, I was glad to read the entire story of Cixi's reign. Our tour guide in Beijing felt she was a tyrant, but the book makes her out to be a leader. The book covers 60+ years of Chinese history.
Merle Carr
Excellent book. Very dynamic woman.
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