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Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for forty-seven years, and transformed China from a medieval state into a modern society. Selected when she was fifteen as one of Emperor Xianfeng s 3,000 concubines, she rose rapidly through their ranks, cementing her position by producing an heir, Tongzhi. When Xianfeng died in 1861, Tongzhi was only five. Cixi at once launched a palace coup, ousted the regents appointed by her husband and made herself sole regent for her son. In this ground-breaking biography, Jung Chang shows that under Cixi s rule China acquired virtually all the attributes of a modern state- industries, railways, cars, electricity, telephones, Western medicine, an army and navy with modern weaponry. She developed foreign trade and diplomacy, and revolutionised the education system; newspapers were published for the first time, students were sent abroad to study. She abolished foot-binding and gruesome medieval punishments like death by a thousand cuts . Jung Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a deeply conservative and cruel despot. Cixi reigned over extraordinary times and had to deal with a
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From the bestselling author of Wild Swans and Mao: The Unknown Story, the extraordinary story of the woman who single-handedly dragged China into the modern age

About the Author

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.


"Jung Chang tells a story and what a colourful tale it is...This is history at its most readable." -- George Walden * Evening Standard * "A truly authoritative account of Cixi's rule. Her story is both important and evocative." -- Orville Schell * New York Times * "Filled with new revelations, it's a gripping and surprising story of an extraordinary woman in power. Using Chinese sources, totally untapped by western books, this reappraises one of the great monstresses of modern history... Jung Chang's revisionism means that this book reveals a new and different woman: ambitious, sometimes murderous, but pragmatic and unique. All of this adds up to make Empress Dowager Cixi a powerful read." -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * BBC History Magazine * "If there is one woman who mattered in the history of modern China, it is the empress dowager Cixi...[Her] conventional image is queried in this detailed and beautifully narrated biography, which at long last restores the empress dowager to her rightful place. Chang's book relies heavily on the vast holdings in the imperial archives in Beijing... She has a wonderful eye for the telling detail and excels at unravelling palace intrigues and corridor politics." -- Frank Dikotter * Sunday Times * "Chang has a proven Midas touch... Empress Dowager, by returning to female experience in the style of Wild Swans yet focusing, like Mao, on a controversial ruler, should appeal to fans of both." -- Jeffrey Wasserstrom * Financial Times *

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