Reviews

Empress Dowager CIXI: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang

books_r_fun666's review against another edition

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challenging informative sad slow-paced

4.0

korzna's review against another edition

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3.0

I enjoyed the history and the detail. it was dry at times.

goldenluck's review against another edition

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informative medium-paced

3.5

This was very well written and about such a fascinating era of China that is rarely spoken about. I do think the author seemed to idolize Cixi a little bit which made me wonder about how unbiased the narrative was, however it sounds like she's a pretty demonized figure in other works so this may have been a justified overcorrection. 

pollycharlie's review against another edition

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5.0

Chang painted a picture of Cixi that's so different from what I was taught. I don't know what to believe anymore until I saw the notes section of the book. A great researched book!

beachy123's review against another edition

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challenging emotional informative reflective slow-paced

4.0

This was my first foray into Chines history I am ashamed to say! But it has given me a thirst to find out more. 

horfhorfhorf's review against another edition

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3.0

Informative but very, very clinical. Between asides and footnotes, it's clear Chang did her research across all available resources, even the ones nobody else had thought to look to yet. Still, a bit dry for my taste.

stevenyenzer's review against another edition

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4.0

Although it's clear that Chang has a historical revisionist ax to grind in writing this history, it's nonetheless a fascinating look at the development of late 19th-century China. Cixi's story is enthralling and well-told.

colourquotingbookworm's review against another edition

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informative reflective slow-paced

3.5

johndiconsiglio's review against another edition

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3.0

Radical revisionism of an historical despot. Cixi is reimagined not as the butcher of the Boxer Rebellion but as a progressive reformer amid a collapsing culture. I have no idea if the history is accurate—although Chang’s breathless defense feels like we’re not being told the whole story. (Was every single positive development in China a result of Cixi’s genius—while every bad decision came from narrow-minded men who resented taking orders from a strong woman?) Chang may not be a reliable historian, but she’s a brisk storyteller. There’s plenty of palace intrigue and suspense behind the Forbidden City walls. Just take it with a grain of salt.

pachypedia's review against another edition

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4.0

Muy interesante la historia de una emperatriz adelantada a su tiempo y que supo gobernar a pesar de los impedimentos que se le ponían por ser mujer.