Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Empress Dowager Cixi

Bel Mooney's review of Jung Chang's "Empress Dowager Cixi" from the Mail Online:
She was a version of Margaret Thatcher, in a different age, an alien culture. From humble origins yet a natural leader, she used a powerful mixture of intelligence and natural charm to get her way, fighting a single-minded path to the top.

Autocratic and determined, she would let few things or people stand in the way of her ambition to change history.

The lady knew how to manipulate men who were weaker - which was most, even in a male-dominated culture. Powerful rivals held no terror for her, and heaven help those who made her their enemy.

Depending on whether you’re a detractor or an admirer, she was ruthless or tough-minded, devious or shrewd, cruel or simply pragmatic according to the standards of the age. Nobody can argue that this stateswoman made a significant mark on history, yet history’s jury is still out.

Was she an innovator or a despot? The answer is almost certainly - both.


Other Links:
Article on Cixi featured in the Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/da-cixi.html

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