The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China
 
By Hannah Pakula
Designed by Nancy Singer
 
Synopsis
web_books_the last empressWith the beautiful, powerful, and sexy Madame Chiang Kai-shek at the center of one of the great dramas of the twentieth century, this is the story of the founding of modern China, starting with a revolution that swept away more than 2,000 years of monarchy, followed by World War II, and ending in the eventual loss to the Communists and exile in Taiwan. An epic historical tapestry, this wonderfully wrought narrative brings to life what Americans should know about China -- the superpower we are inextricably linked with -- the way its people think and their code of behavior, both vastly different from our own. The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China
 
By Hannah Pakula
Designed by Nancy Singer
 
Synopsis
web_books_the last empressWith the beautiful, powerful, and sexy Madame Chiang Kai-shek at the center of one of the great dramas of the twentieth century, this is the story of the founding of modern China, starting with a revolution that swept away more than 2,000 years of monarchy, followed by World War II, and ending in the eventual loss to the Communists and exile in Taiwan. An epic historical tapestry, this wonderfully wrought narrative brings to life what Americans should know about China -- the superpower we are inextricably linked with -- the way its people think and their code of behavior, both vastly different from our own.
 
The story revolves around this fascinating woman and her family: her father, a peasant who raised himself into Shanghai society and sent his daughters to college in America in a day when Chinese women were kept purposefully uneducated; her mother, an unlikely Methodist from the Mandarin class; her husband, a military leader and dogmatic warlord; her sisters, one married to Sun Yat-sen, the George Washington of China, the other to a seventy-fifth lineal descendant of Confucius; and her older brother, a financial genius.
 
This was the Soong family, which, along with their partners in marriage, was largely responsible for dragging China into the twentieth century. Brilliantly narrated, this fierce and bloody drama also includes U.S. Army General Joseph Stilwell; Claire Chennault, head of the Flying Tigers; Communist leaders Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai; murderous warlords; journalists Henry Luce, Theodore White, and Edgar Snow; and the unfortunate State Department officials who would be purged for predicting (correctly) the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War.
 
As the representative of an Eastern ally in the West, Madame Chiang was befriended -- before being rejected -- by the Roosevelts, stayed in the White House for long periods during World War II, and charmed the U.S. Congress into giving China billions of dollars. Although she was dubbed the Dragon Lady in some quarters, she was an icon to her people and is certainly one of the most remarkable women of the twentieth century.
 
China: Land of Dragons and Emperors
 
By Adeline Yen Mah
 
Synopsis 
web_books_china-land of dragons and emporersThe history of China spans thousands of years. Journey through China in this fascinating and absorbing book: discover the land of dragons and emperors, and learn about the significance of its ancient dynasties. Countless tools and materials that people have used every day for centuries—paper, gunpowder, cast iron, matches, and silk, to name just a few—were first made in China. Chinese society has progressed through major changes, but lucky numbers, festivals, beliefs about colors, the practice of foot binding, the building of the Great Wall, and the larger-than-life people of China are all integral parts of this ancient civilization and still have an impact on life today.

Bestselling author Adeline Yen Mah explores an extraordinary view of the great story of China over the last two millennia in this nonfiction work, which also includes black-and-white photographs.
 
Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang
 
By Zhao Ziyang,
Edited by Adi Ignatius, Bao Pu and Renee Chiang
Foreword by Roderick MacFarquahar
 
Synopsis
"Zhao may be more dangerous in death than he was in life."
— Time 
 
web_books_prisoner of the stateHow often can you peek behind the curtains of one of the most secretive governments in the world? Prisoner of the State is the first book to give readers a front row seat to the secret inner workings of China's government. It is the story of Premier Zhao Ziyang, the man who brought liberal change to that nation and who, at the height of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, tried to stop the massacre and was dethroned for his efforts.
 
When China's army moved in, killing hundreds of students and other demonstrators, Zhao was placed under house arrest at his home on a quiet alley in Beijing. China's most promising change agent had been disgraced, along with the policies he stood for. The premier spent the last sixteen years of his life, up until his death in 2005, in seclusion. An occasional detail about his life would slip out: reports of a golf excursion, a photo of his aging visage, a leaked letter to China's leaders. But China scholars often lamented that Zhao never had his final say.
 
As it turns out, Zhao did produce a memoir in complete secrecy. He methodically recorded his thoughts and recollections on what had happened behind the scenes during many of modern China's most critical moments. The tapes he produced were smuggled out of the country and form the basis for Prisoner of the State. In this audio journal, Zhao provides intimate details about the Tiananmen crackdown; he describes the ploys and double crosses China's top leaders use to gain advantage over one another; and he talks of the necessity for China to adopt democracy in order to achieve long-term stability.
 
The China that Zhao portrays is not some long-lost dynasty. It is today's China, where the nation's leaders accept economic freedom but continue to resist political change.
 
If Zhao had survived — that is, if the hard-line hadn't prevailed during Tiananmen — he might have been able to steer China's political system toward more openness and tolerance. Zhao's call to begin lifting the Party's control over China's life — to let a little freedom into the public square — is remarkable coming from a man who had once dominated that square.
 
Although Zhao now speaks from the grave in this moving and riveting memoir, his voice has the moral power to make China sit up and listen.
 
Source: BarnesandNoble.com

Terms Of Use

Terms of Use All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher. For permission requests, contact [email protected] with subject line “Permission request.”

About

CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Our goal is to develop a mutual understanding of each other’s cultures and business environments and to foster U.S.-China cultural and business harmony.