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Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China (Chronicles) Paperback – 1 Dec 2008
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About the Author
Ann Paludan lived in Beijing from 1972 to 1976, and returns there regularly. Her other books include The Imperial Ming Tombs and The Chinese Spirit Road. She lives in England.
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The book is very well produced, with a large number of photographs and other illustrations that enhance the excellent text. I have no hesitation in recommending this book for both the casual reader and the more serious student of Chinese history.
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.
Despite this I found that this book gave a tantilising taste of the live of the "Sons of Heaven". This book is a brilliant starting point for anyone intersted in Imperial Chinese history, and encourages further reading. I did particulary like the fact box on every emperor, listing their name, their tomb location and other facts when available.
One thing that greatly dissapointed me was the pages on the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi. The author simply reeled off the age old injustices that have been attributed to this woman by sensationalist British men, encompassing the traditional notion that all women in power are evil hoars. The author would have done well to take into account the more modern and balanced portrait of this shy and chaste woman painted from actual historic evidence, rather than the completely unbelievable stories of her thousands of lovers, particulary "Dragon Lady" by Sterling Seagrave. I realise I have focused on a few short pages, but when you are faced with such blatently prejudiced and unresearched information, it casts a shadow over the rest of the manuscript. Despite this I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone.
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