26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A clear, illustrated overview,
By A Customer
This review is from: Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China. (Hardcover)
The rulers of a period of 2100 years are described in 224 richly illustrated pages with additional time lines, quotes and special features, so the books can not dig very deep into the characters of the Emperors. Eleven rulers of five dynasties in the period 907-960 are described in 1 paragraph only, but famous Emperors like Qin Shihuangdi, Xuanzong, Kublai Khan and Qianlong are described in more than 3 pages each. Nevertheless, the story of the Chinese Emperors and dynasties is a very interesting one. Not only the decline of a dynasty was marked by murders and suicides. The only reigning Empress of China ever, Wu Zetian, remained in power by murdering other members of the imperial family. Ming Jiajing narrowly escaped being strangled by his concubines and Prince Wuzong was chosen as Emperor by the eunuchs, who slew two rival candidates and their mothers. Still, some Emperors were mainly interested in artistic, intellectual or spiritual pursuits. The special features give additional background information with topics like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army and the Forbidden City.
For all Chinese Emperors the book shows the Chinese signs, the temple name and the deaths of their accession and their death. From 400 AD onwards gradually the birth date, name of the parents and wives, the number of children and the place of the tomb are added. The book really gives a clear overview. What I especially liked were the tables with information about each Emperor and the many portraits.
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