Customer Reviews


79 Reviews
5 star:
 (45)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Excellent book, kept me really absorbed. I do not know enough of this period of Chinese history to be able to judge its overall accuracy, but it provided a fascinating insight into the customs and traditions of the Imperial Court.
Published 9 months ago by T. Crane

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awkward style, good in parts.
An "interesting" subject let down by an awkward, rather too easy to put down, style. The author's anachronistic reference to the Chinese capital as Beijing, a usage that did not become current until the mid 1950s and is only used in the English speaking world, is rather irritating. In Ci Xi's time Peking was the capital's official name. She also appears to have a soft...
Published 5 months ago by Albanie


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 2 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent book, kept me really absorbed. I do not know enough of this period of Chinese history to be able to judge its overall accuracy, but it provided a fascinating insight into the customs and traditions of the Imperial Court.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving book and stunning in its detail, 8 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is stunning and deeply moving. I'm reading it as I work in Beijing and many of the places and cities mentioned are nearby.

It's a very human story about one woman's determination to survive and impose a measure of common sense in a world that was falling into chaos

It's about China at the end of the dynastic period that had lasted more than 5000 years, China's government, such as it was, was stuck in rigid formality and petrified protocols unable to respond to external threats and challenges.

The facts that pepper the book are fascinating and I cannot begin to list them but each opens a window onto a stylised fantasy world that was the Forbidden City and a brutal world that was Court politics.

Plenty of sex and violence, and combinations that I had not thought of...

Really excellence read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars End of Empire, 21 May 2014
By 
DB "davidbirkett" (Co. Kildare, Ireland (but born & raised Liverpool, UK)) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a very enjoyable book about a period in Chinese history that I new scandalously little about: from the Opium Wars to the time of "The Last Emperor". I knew a bit about the Japanese sinking a Chinese fleet, but I had in the back of my mind that it was battleships v wooden junks. It turns out it wasn't quite that one sided - a start had been made to modernise the Chinese Navy, but they hadn't progressed as rapidly as the Japanese. I knew about the Japanese occupying Manchuria, and a little about the Boxer rebellion, but about Chinese politics of the time? Nothing.

So it's good to get the period coloured in, but it has to be borne in mind that this is revisionist history and that the "official" history of CiXi still has lots of adherents. And I'm in no position to judge. So while you should most definitely read the book, you should also read some of the most helpful critical reviews, plus the Wikipedia entry on CiXi.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the history of China, 26 April 2014
I didn't know anything about Chinese history, and wanted to read something that would give me some background before visiting China later this year. This book provided a wonderful description of the transition the country made from ancient to modern in the second half of the nineteenth century - incredibly (given the male-centred culture) under the guidance and inspiration of Cixi, the emperor's concubine.
The book provides a vivid picture of how life in China had been conducted for centuries, and how it had to face up to the realities of modern industry, global trade and relationships with foreign powers (often problematic). Cixi was an amazing woman, who made many mistakes but still had the vision and determination to transform China and improve the lives of its citizens. The times were cruel and inevitably there are references to distressing or violent practices - but in my view the author achieves the right balance, describing only as much as necessary.
The book is not a light read - but very informative, well-researched and thought-provoking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave me more about the transission of China into modernity than any other book, 21 Mar 2014
By 
Nils Finn Munch-petersen (Gudhjem, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Exiting and superbly well written giving the feeling of being in China at the time. I was not soimpressed by Jung Chang's book about Mao, which was probably too close to present to write without (understandable) hatred. The story about Cixi is a masterpiece
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History masterpiece., 16 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When the most fascinating periods of history are presented as beautifully and grippingly as this, for me. there is no genre to compete. So far, fifteen stars and only limited by Amazon's parameters. Her three masterpieces are most of what you need to know about China in the last one hundred years. And you do need to know.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Awkward style, good in parts., 2 Feb 2014
An "interesting" subject let down by an awkward, rather too easy to put down, style. The author's anachronistic reference to the Chinese capital as Beijing, a usage that did not become current until the mid 1950s and is only used in the English speaking world, is rather irritating. In Ci Xi's time Peking was the capital's official name. She also appears to have a soft focus on American and British foreign policy compared to Japan, Germany and Russia who come across as "villains". Even Ci Xi is softened as a progressive modernizer even though this clearly arose from reasons of political expediency and self-preservation as a minority Manchu: she backed the Boxer uprising after all and mercilessly crushed her opponents. In her final years as dowager empress her flirtation with western, mainly American, ideas seems to have prepared the way for the turmoil that followed the fall of the imperial system and for the neo-capitalism currently in vogue in China. Returning to style, this is a work that pays to be skip-read as some of the intimate detail can be cloyingly tedious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading., 5 Dec 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history and would like to know more about China. When I first looked at the book over 370 pages I thought I may find it a bit too long for me. But on the contrary is is so interesting and keeps you continually fascinated and enthralled by such an amazing woman.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for history buffs, 25 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book after having read a review in The Telegraph. I've never bought a book like this before but the piece that I read made the book sound very interesting. I knew nothing of this era or subject and I'm so pleased I did buy this book as I now know a little of the struggle that she went through. I would recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enpress Doweger Cixi, 24 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Extremely readable, great historically and also very entertaining eventhough Cixi was a female despot. Shed a lot of light on omen status in China.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China
6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews