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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive accessible history of Imperial China, 15 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi, 1835-1908, Empress Dowager of China (Hardcover)
Of the many books written about the vain, ruthless, extravagant and formidable Tzu-Hsi, Dowager Empress of China 1861-1908, Marina Warner's is one of the two best, for both the general reader and the student of Chinese history in the painful, humiliating years of its Imperial decline under the decaying Ching (Manchu) dynasty. (The other is Keith Laidler's 'The Last Empress', 2003.) Warner's hardback is generously illustrated in a handily modest coffe-table format, its chapters accompanied by a wide range of colour-plates, photographs and black-&-white illustrations, maps etc. The book tells its history clearly, carefully and in detail. Its emphasis is on the course of the period's history, as much as the narrative of its protagonist's life, so it offers both biographical and historical perspectives of absorbing interest to the student and the general reader. The book firmly eschews the racier, speculative scandals of the Dragon Empress' long life of court politics, and concentrates on the known facts. A terrific read. Immediately accessible history. Recommended.
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