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Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Rauer Buchschnitt, 29. Oktober 2013

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 464 Seiten
  • Verlag: Knopf (29. Oktober 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0307271609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307271600
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,8 x 3,9 x 24,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 26.237 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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**A Barnes & Noble Best New Nonfiction Book of 2013**
**A New York Times Notable Book of 2013**

“A fascinating and instructive biography for anyone interested in how today’s China began.”  —Library Journal (starred review)

“In [Chang’s] absorbing new book….her extensive use of new Chinese sources makes a strong case for reappraisal. Since none have made use of a full range of sources in both languages, there has been no truly authoritative account of Cixi’s rule. Her story is both important and evocative….What makes reading this new biography so provocative are the similarities between the challenges faced by the Qing court a century ago and those confronting the Chinese Communist Party today….there is much to learn here from the experiences of Empress Dowager Cixi.” —Orville Schell, The New York Times

“Jung Chang’s book dives into a genuinely fascinating figure: a fierce imperial consort who rules behind the thrones of two successive Chinese emperors and helped ease china into the twentieth century….a fantastic Machiavellian tale by the author of the definitive Mao biography.” —New York Magazine

“The author of “Wild Swans” sets out to rehabilitate the reputation of a woman who, she argues, helped modernize China….While Chang acknowledges Cixi’s missteps—such as allowing the Boxers to fight against a Western invasion, which led to widespread slaughter—she sees her as a woman whose energy, farsightedness, and ruthless pragmatism transformed a country.” —The New Yorker

“A largely new—and to me, mostly convincing—interpretation. Chang makes a unique claim for Cixi, summed up in her subtitle: “The Concubine Who Launched Modern China.”…Jung Chang has written a pathbreaking and generally persuasive book.” —Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Review of Books
“[Chang has] trained her sleuthing skills and piercing pen on the common concubine who rose to rule china, and what she’s uncovered is nothing short of imposing….as painstaking in detail as it is sweeping in scope….Chang’s new tome is certain to become the standard by which all future biographies of the Dowager Empress are measured.” —Katie Baker, The Daily Beast

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China seems likely to garner plaudits not only from students of China but from anyone interested in world affairs and China's role therein....This is a rich and fascinating book that never relaxes its hold on the reader despite the marshalling of a mass of complex historical details seen through the prism of Cixi. One cannot help but feel there are still many more books waiting to be written about this fascinating period in Chinese history.” —Jane Haile, New York Journal of Books
“It was a biography by Jung Chang and her husband Jon Halliday that finally toppled Mao Zedong from his creaking pedestal. Now she has demolished another myth. The Empress Dowager of China…was not the scheming, vicious, reactionary she-monster of fond imagination but the force behind what she calls ‘the real revolution of Modern China’….what a colourful tale it is….This is history at its most readable by an author with a point of view.” —George Walden, London Evening Standard
“Cixi’s extraordinary story has all the elements of a good fairy tale: bizarre, sinister, triumphant and terrible.” —The Economist
“‘Although I have heard much about Queen Victoria,” her Chinese contemporary, the Empress Cixi once remarked, ‘I do not think her life is half as interesting and eventful as mine.’ It is a judgment that is hard to dispute….the tumultuous story of her reign remains astonishing.” —James Owen, Telegraph
“The times that Cixi dominated were critical to the shaping of modern China, a country that resembles the Qing autocracy in many ways, though without the empire’s relatively free press and anticipated suffrage. The top echelons of Chinese politics remain as male-dominated and vicious as ever, and Cixi remains as gripping a subject.” —Isabel Hilton, The Guardian

“When an author as thorough, gifted, and immersed in Chinese culture as Chang writes, both scholars and general readers take notice.” —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

“An impassioned defense of the daughter of a government employee who finagled her way to becoming the long-reigning empress dowager, feminist, and reformer….In an entertaining biography, the empress finally has her day.” —Kirkus Reviews


From the bestselling author of Wild Swans and Mao: The Unknown Story, the extraordinary story of the woman who single-handedly dragged China into the modern age -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Jose Pedro Sebastian de Erice am 11. Februar 2014
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sehr gut recherchiert- sehr persönlich gebracht. Erschütternd wie das Image dieser Frau durch die Presse manipuliert wurde.Der Schaden ist kaum mehr gutzumachen...
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An excellent book about China and its history. It gives a very different picture from Dowager Cixi and a vivid description of the life of the Europeans in Beijing during her time.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von von Bistram am 8. Oktober 2014
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Wir warten immer noch auf die Lieferung dieses über unser Kindle-Gerät bestellten Buches !!!!!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

v. Bistram

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 251 Rezensionen
45 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Read it if you want to understand China today 4. September 2013
Von Dale Dellinger - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
This is a very interesting book about Chinese history in the 19th and early 20th centuries, from the point of view of the central government -- specifically the Qing court.

At first look, this book appears to be a biography of one person, but in fact it gives great insight into China during an important (and I'd say misunderstood time) as it emerged from its isolation in the 19th century.

I must admit I didn't know much about the Empress Dowager Cixi before reading this book. When I was in Beijing several years ago, I had heard about her taking money earmarked for modernizing the navy and diverting it to build a stone pavilion shaped like a boat at the Summer Palace. My impression was that she was very backward, ignorant of the west, and controlling. On the contrary, the author, Jung Chang, is very sympathetic towards Cixi and he often showed me how my original impression of her was wrong, and she was much more than the caricature I had in my mind. She cared for China -- her motto was "China Strong". She was curious about the West and was impressed by the West's technology, their political systems, and how the West treated it's own citizens, and she adopted (or tried to adopt) many facets of the West. Many times, she was hampered by conservatives who didn't want to change.

This is also a book about a smart woman who became leader of 1/3 of the world's population -- not by birth, but by her own will -- when she was in her 20s and remained a strong force in a country for most of the rest of her life. It's telling that historians are not clear of what her original name was -- Cixi is an honorific name -- women's names weren't important enough to record, even when they were the emperor's mother.

The book got a little tiresome to me somewhere in the second half, but keep with it and be sure to read the epilogue. This one chapter outlines Cixi's lasting impacts and ties together the rest of the book with modern day China.

By the way, about that stone boat story -- Cixi did pay for some of the renovation of the Summer Palace with funds that were earmarked for the navy, but Chang quickly points out that she paid for much of it out of her household budget and that it didn't have an effect on the strength of the navy. She was much more frugal in many other ways than that extravagance would imply.

If you would like to know how China got to where it is today, this book is one you should read along the way. After reading it, I feel that Cixi has gotten a bad rap and this book might reverse some of that.
25 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Compelling and engaging study of the Empress Dowager Cixi 17. September 2013
Von Z Hayes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
When I was teaching in Singapore, the history syllabus covered the reign of the Empress Dowager Cixi, or Tzu- Hsi, as she was also known. I find her to be a complex and incredibly intelligent woman who bucked the restrictions imposed upon her gender during a period where females were extremely oppressed to rise through the ranks and become one of the most powerful women in China's history. Though Cixi has been reviled by many as a despot, author Jung Chang, who also wrote the amazing Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, provides a starkly different perspective, one that shines the spotlight on the Empress Dowager's many achievements.

The book also provides the reader with a compelling look into the politics of governing China during the period. As one of Emperor Xianfeng's many royal concubines, Cixi distinguished herself not only because she provided the emperor with a son, but was also known for her political acumen, and this proved helpful when the Emperor died five years later. Employing cunning strategies, Cixi positioned herself as the real ruler of China, with her son installed as the Emperor Tongzhi.

Using recently accessible historical documents, primarily in Chinese, the author paints a compelling portrait of a woman who went against the grain and helped propel China into the modern era with significant strides being made in diverse fields such as economy, military, education, etc. One of the significant social reforms, at least in my opinion, was the banning of the cruel and antiquated practice of female foot-binding which saw many young women crippled way before their time, and prevented women from being more productive participants in society.

I admit that it was difficult to reconcile the dominant view of the Empress Dowager as a cruel, ultra conservative with this reformist Empress, but Jung Chang makes a compelling case and backs up her work with historical evidence. I'm no historian, but I found this book to be well-written and cogent, and think it will appeal to those who are interested in Chinese history and politics.
37 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Consumate Political Animal 11. Januar 2014
Von Loves the View - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In total contravention to informed opinion, this author holds The Dowager Empress Cixi in awe and considers her a reformer. I was looking forward to what the author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China might have to say about Cixi and was disappointed that not much in the premise holds up. The Dowager's actions, as cited in this very text, contradict the author's premise.

Women's roles in history are obscured and underrated. Cixi is not obscure and takes on her shoulders the centuries of tradition and resistance to change that put China in a weak position to deal with the modern world. Jung Chang gives no information to show that Cixi's leadership did anything to reverse this trend. What she does show is that Cixi is a consummate politician.

Cixi lucked out in producing the first male child for the Emperor Xianfeng and was befriended his wife the empress. Upon the emperor's death, Cixi aligned with Empress Zhen and they plotted their way to power. Upon the death of her son, the Emperor Tongzhi, on whom her position depended, she adopted her three year old nephew who became Emperor Guangxu. She controlled him and wheedled his power away from him. When he became an adult, discredited and imprisoned him. She later murdered him, for the good of China... of course. None of her power was used to reform China. It seems to have been used to appoint people who would perpetuate her own power and kill others who (may have) threatened it. As could easily be predicted, she was against the Boxer rebels until they were effective; then she supported them; and then when they were squelched by the westerners, she cozied up to the westerners. She promised China a constitutional monarchy... after her death, of course.

The text is often a paean that contradicts Cixi's life and actions. Page 344 tributes "Cixi's sense of fairness... penchant for consensus". This hardly fits the narrative to this point, the most dramatic example being Jade (the Emperor Guangxu's favorite concubine) for whom there was no room in the flight from the Boxers. Jade did not obey Cixi's orders to commit suicide, nor did Cixi notice the consensus of the eunuchs who did not step forward to push her into the well (p. 279) as she had ordered. Cixi had to order specific Eunuch to do this, who would surely not have done it had he thought he had a choice. On p. 354, after a whole book showing how Cixi excluded Han Chinese from the inner councils of running their own country, we learn that "she was not given to racial prejudice".

The last section, on the "Real Revolution of Modern China" is replete with examples of how the text, itself, discredits the thesis that Cixi is a reformer. In this "reform period" Cixi is enjoying her new western friends, to whose countries China is indebted; they shower her with gifts and attention. Cixi (p.326) issued an edict banning foot-binding and "approached the implementation ... with characteristic caution ... not her style to force drastic change" and it took a generation (i.e. regime change) because "Cixi was prepared to wait". Later, on p. 371 Jung Chung calls foot-binding a practice to which Cixi "put an end." It took a boycott (p. 349) of a reception by her British friends for her to issue an edit banning "bastinado" - the beating of prisoners to death. Future eliminations use various other methods and were covered up.

The book is good for its easy to follow chronology. The descriptions of the pageantry; crimson ink, seals and boxes; eunuch life; the education of young emperors; the culture of outbursts (weeping, banging heads on the floor, prostration for apology); and the mundane (what pipe attendants do and how they are trained) are excellent. The photographs, like the cover are great.

Are Cixi's mistakes, for which she apologized, greater than Mao's, for which he didn't? (p.373) Jung Chang, who was on the receiving end of Mao's "mistakes" considers Cixi's minimal compared with her achievements. From this volume, I appreciate Cixi's political achievements for herself, but find achievements for China lacking.
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent biography about China's last empress 17. Oktober 2013
Von Suzi Hough - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I have previously read a fictional account of the life of Empress Cixi in Pearl Buck's Imperial Woman, which I quite enjoyed, but I have wan'ted to know more about this woman and how she rose to power. This biography is fascinating; Jung Chang is a natural storyteller, and her words help rehabilitate the Empress past her Western reputation as an aged dragon upon the throne. I mean, she doesn't transform Cixi into a benevolent, enlightened, democratic ruler - nothing crazy like that! - Chang simply provides much of the context that explains how Cixi's worldview was formed and why she made many of the choices that she did.
31 von 38 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great Leap Forward: Reforming Empress Dowager Cixi 29. August 2013
Von William Garrison Jr. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
"Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China" by Jung Chang (Oct. 2013).

[My interest in China started back in 1963 when, at my request for my high-school World Studies class, I received an autographed photograph from ROC Pres. Chiang Kai-shek - okay, so condemn me for being a "name dropper".] Born in Nov. 1835, the Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi essentially controlled the Manchu Qing Dynasty from 1861 to her death in late 1908.

During her reign she supported the Boxer Rebellion/Uprising (c. 1900) which sought to oust foreign (European) trade control and pro-democracy influences in China, but led to the Empress fleeing her throne room as foreign military forces entered Peking (Beijing). A negative depiction of her was impressed upon the American conscience in the 1963 war film: "55 Days at Peking".

This book's China-born author, Jung Chang, argues that the commonly perceived repressive Cixi was actually more "progressive" than her detractors acknowledge. The author attempts to rehabilitate the Empress Cixi.

No need to recount Cixi's entire bio here; the author provides a very extensive 370 pages detailing Cixi's interesting, complex life. But why did she fail to preserve the Imperial way - just three years after her death when the Republican government was proclaimed by Sun Yat-sen? Could Cixi have forestalled the kingdom's demise with political reforms - or was she just giving lip service to reforms as if merely rearranging deck chairs on an already floundering ship-of-state?

Besides calls for political reforms from the ever toiling and over-taxed peasants, foreign powers grabbed at China's wealth. As the author noted, "The Treaty of Shimonoseki [which in 1895 forced China to pay massive, debilitating funds to Japan for the return of the Liaodong Peninsula] ruined China" (p. 201) ... The life-blood was being pumped out of China ... her accusers have asserted that she depleted the navy in order to build her Summer Palace" the author claimed that Cixi "was the only person in the court who unambiguously advocated rejecting Japan's demands and fighting on" (p. 202).

And then the Germans began demanding special control over certain Chinese territories, along with other countries, such as Russia. And opium was made more readily available to the Chinese people to generate revenue to repay foreign loans.

Ah, yes, high government expenses, weak revenues; threatening foreign military forces versus the poorly trained Chinese army that was ill equipped to fight them off. And the Emperor was weak-willed, and the administrative courtiers were corrupt in seeking graft from the peasants. The author noted that "Cixi's father was responsible for collecting taxes and, in line with prevailing and age-old practice, he fleeced the local population ... The he should do so was taken for granted ... Cixi grew up with corruption of this kind as a way of life" (p. 7-8).

But the over-taxed peons eventually rebelled in the great Boxer Uprising.

In response, the author contended that the Emperor "positively sought Cixi's guidance ... His office forwarded proposals about reforms to her ... He was the pupil, and she was the teacher". A resulting edict "launched an historical movement, the Reforms of 1898", but while "History books ... invariably credit it to Emperor Guangxu" they "condemn Cixi as an ultra-conservative opponent" (p. 221). The author contends that "The plain fact is that it was she who initiated the Reforms". As Kitty Carlisle on "What's My Line" might ask: "So will the real Cixi please stand up?"

The author continues for another 150 pages in her attempt to rehabilitate Cixi. No need to list all of them here, except to say that the author has written, I believe, a very well researched and detailed biography of Empress Cixi, and presents well her arguments that Cixi was reform minded.

But as my autographed photograph of Chiang Kai-shek reminds me, two former power greats of China failed to reform the mainland in time before being forced to flee the Forbidden City.
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