Empress Dowager Cixi
The Concubine Who Launched Modern ChinaBook - 2013
A New York Times Notable Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year
In 1852, at age sixteen, Cixi was chosen as one of Emperor Xianfeng’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a coup against her son’s regents and placed herself as the true source of power—governing through a silk screen that separated her from her male officials.
Drawing on newly available sources, Jung Chang comprehensively overturns Cixi’s reputation as a conservative despot. Cixi’s extraordinary reign saw the birth of modern China. Under her, the ancient country attained industries, railways, electricity, and a military with up-to-date weaponry. She abolished foot-binding, inaugurated women’s liberation, and embarked on a path to introduce voting rights. Packed with drama, this groundbreaking biography powerfully reforms our view of a crucial period in China’s—and the world’s—history.
Baker & Taylor
The co-author of the best-selling Mao: The Unknown Story presents an epic portrait of the 19th-century empress that provides coverage of the coup that rendered her regent after her father's death, her defiance of centuries of traditions and formalities and her role in introducing Western political ideas and technologies.