Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi

The Concubine Who Launched Modern China

Downloadable Audiobook - 2013 | Unabridged.
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From a coauthor of the best-selling Mao: The Unknown Story, the dramatic, epic biography of the woman who ruled China for fifty years, overcoming centuries of traditions and formalities--and found ways to modernize China, exposing its culture to western political ideas and technology. Empress Dowager Cixi led an intense and singular life. Chosen at the age of twelve to be a concubine by the Emperor Xianfeng, she gives birth to his only male heir, who at four years old is designated emperor when his father dies in 1861. Enlisting the help of Xianfeng's widow, Cixi orchestrates a coup that ousts the appointed regents and makes herself the regent on behalf of her son. Her son ends up dying in his mid-twenties and Cixi is able to designate a young nephew as the emperor--continuing her reign, which stretches to her death in 1908. In this remarkable chronicle, Chang gives us a portrait of Cixi that is complex and riveting: her ruthlessness in fighting off rivals; her startling curiosity to learn all she can, not only about China (she is not allowed to leave the court compound); her reliance on her advisers and officials, often Westerners who she has placed in key positions of responsibility; and her sensitivity and desire to preserve the distinctiveness of China's past. Chang makes a compelling case that Cixi was one of the most formidable--and enlightened--rulers of a nation.
Publisher: [New York] :, Books on Tape,, 2013.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9780804149044
0804149046
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 sound file (16 hr., 34 min., 44 sec.)) : digital
Additional Contributors: Kim, Jolene - Narrator
Summary: From a coauthor of the best-selling Mao: The Unknown Story, the dramatic, epic biography of the woman who ruled China for fifty years, overcoming centuries of traditions and formalities--and found ways to modernize China, exposing its culture to western political ideas and technology. Empress Dowager Cixi led an intense and singular life. Chosen at the age of twelve to be a concubine by the Emperor Xianfeng, she gives birth to his only male heir, who at four years old is designated emperor when his father dies in 1861. Enlisting the help of Xianfeng's widow, Cixi orchestrates a coup that ousts the appointed regents and makes herself the regent on behalf of her son. Her son ends up dying in his mid-twenties and Cixi is able to designate a young nephew as the emperor--continuing her reign, which stretches to her death in 1908. In this remarkable chronicle, Chang gives us a portrait of Cixi that is complex and riveting: her ruthlessness in fighting off rivals; her startling curiosity to learn all she can, not only about China (she is not allowed to leave the court compound); her reliance on her advisers and officials, often Westerners who she has placed in key positions of responsibility; and her sensitivity and desire to preserve the distinctiveness of China's past. Chang makes a compelling case that Cixi was one of the most formidable--and enlightened--rulers of a nation.

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