Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine who Launched Modern China

Front Cover
Jonathan Cape, 2013 - China - 436 pages
19 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
ASIAN / MIDDLE EASTERN HISTORY: C 1500 TO C 1900. Empress Dowager Cixi is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for forty-seven years and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of Emperor Xianfeng's numerous concubines and sexual partners. When Xianfeng died in 1861, their five-year-old son Tongzhi became the next emperor. Cixi at once launched a palace coup, ousted the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her male officials. In this ground-breaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, the telegraph, an army and navy with up to date weaponry.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - john257hopper - LibraryThing

This is a well researched biography by the author better known for Wild Swans. Cixi was the most powerful woman in Chinese history effectively exercising executive power over the largest state in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookbrig - LibraryThing

This book is SO GOOD. (The audio was also great.) I feel like I actually got to know the empress intimately, as well as getting a sweeping look at Chinese history and its role in the geopolitical ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2013)

Jung Chang is the best-selling author of Wild Swans (1991, which the Asian Wall Street Journal called the most read book about China), and Mao: The Unknown Story (2005, with Jon Halliday), which was described by Time Magazine as 'an atom bomb of a book'. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies outside mainland China where they are both banned.. She was born in China in 1952, and came to Britain in 1978. She lives in London.

Bibliographic information