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Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China's Eternal First Lady

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Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China's Eternal First Lady Cover

ISBN13: 9780871139337
ISBN10: 0871139332
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Madame Chiang Kai-shek is the first biography of one of history's most intriguing and controversial political figures. Beautiful, brilliant, and captivating, Madame Chiang Kai-shek seized unprecedented official and unofficial power during China's long and violent civil war. She passionately argued against Chinese Communism in the international arena and influenced decades of Sino-American relations and modern Chinese history. Raised in one of China's most powerful families — the Soongs — and educated at Wellesley College, Soong Mayling went on to become wife, adviser, interpreter, and propagandist to Nationalist leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. An international crusader who continued speaking out against Communism well into her nineties, Mayling sparred with Churchill and Roosevelt and impressed Westerners and Chinese alike with her acumen, charm, and glamour. But she was also decried as a manipulative "Dragon Lady," and despised for living in American-style splendor while Chinese citizens suffered her husband's brutal oppression.

The result of years of research including access to previously classified CIA, Taiwanese, and diplomatic files, Madame Chiang Kai-shek objectively evaluates the legacy of one of the most powerful and fascinating women of the twentieth century.

Review:

"To admirers, the wife of the Nationalist dictator of China and later Taiwan was a symbol of resistance to Communist tyranny; to detractors, she was a crafty 'Dragon Lady' or a quisling of American imperialism. In this absorbing biography, Li, a former Taiwan correspondent for the Financial Times, manages a balanced portrait that situates Madame Chiang in an uneasy borderland between East and West. In her charm offensives to the United States seeking military aid during WWII, the author writes, the glamorous, Wellesley-educated Madame Chiang embodied a modern, Westernizing China that made her 'a perfect focus for America's rescue complex.' But Li also finds her 'quintessentially Chinese' in her submissiveness to her husband's authority and 'loyalty to clan and personality over principle.' Amply conveying her subject's charisma without falling under its spell, Li diagnoses Madame Chiang as a classic 'narcissistic personality' and critiques her complicity in the Nationalist regime's brutality and corruption and her lavish lifestyle, which alienated China's impoverished masses. Li is barely adequate at sketching the 105 years of Chinese history Chiang's life spanned, but she offers a well-researched, fluently written assessment of the life and impact of one of the 20th century's iconic figures. Photos, map. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Madame Chiang Kai-shek — a Booklist Editors' Choice for 2006  is the first biography of one of the most controversial and fascinating women of the twentieth century. Raised in a powerful Chinese family, the beautiful, brilliant, and captivating Soong Mayling married Nationalist leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and went on to become his chief adviser, interpreter, and propagandist. When the Communists broke with Chiangs Nationalist Party, Mayling and her sister, the widow of Sun Yat-Sen, found themselves on opposing sides of a civil war. A relentless crusader speaking out against Communism well into her nineties, she sparred with international leaders and impressed Westerners and Chinese alike with her acumen, charm, and glamour. But she was also decried as a manipulative “Dragon Lady” and was despised for living in Western-style splendor while Chinese citizens suffered under her husbands brutal oppression. The result of years of extensive research in the United States and abroad and access to previously classified CIA and diplomatic files, here at last is the story of an extraordinary woman who has become a symbol of Americas long, vexed love affair with China and Chinas own struggle to define itself as a world power.

Synopsis:

In a life that spanned the 20th century (1898-2003), Madame Chiang Kai-Shek was inextricably entwined with China's tempestuous evolution from the imperial Qing Dynasty to the end of colonialism in Hong Kong. In this first biography of one of history's most intriguing and controversial political figures, Li shows how Madame Chiang influenced decades of Sino-American relations and modern Chinese history.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Reader, October 21, 2006 (view all comments by Reader)
This is a wonderful book! Laura Tyson-Li gives a balanced view of Madame Chiang's complex, controversial, and exciting life. The book is thoroughly researched and well written. I felt like I was taking a trip around the world every time I picked up the book.

I did not think I'd be laughing while reading a history book, but the book has some really funny moments! Madame Chiang and her sisters were very influential for a generation. Her life is important to anyone who wants to understand relations between Taiwan and China and the US. This book is a fabulous Christmas present!
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(43 of 49 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780871139337
Subtitle:
China's Eternal First Lady
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Author:
Tyson Li, Laura
Author:
Li, Laura Tyson
Subject:
Political
Subject:
China
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Asia - China
Subject:
Presidents' spouses
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20060831
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pages BandW illustrations
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 31.5 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » China » Revolutionary 1911 to 1949

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China's Eternal First Lady
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 576 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780871139337 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "To admirers, the wife of the Nationalist dictator of China and later Taiwan was a symbol of resistance to Communist tyranny; to detractors, she was a crafty 'Dragon Lady' or a quisling of American imperialism. In this absorbing biography, Li, a former Taiwan correspondent for the Financial Times, manages a balanced portrait that situates Madame Chiang in an uneasy borderland between East and West. In her charm offensives to the United States seeking military aid during WWII, the author writes, the glamorous, Wellesley-educated Madame Chiang embodied a modern, Westernizing China that made her 'a perfect focus for America's rescue complex.' But Li also finds her 'quintessentially Chinese' in her submissiveness to her husband's authority and 'loyalty to clan and personality over principle.' Amply conveying her subject's charisma without falling under its spell, Li diagnoses Madame Chiang as a classic 'narcissistic personality' and critiques her complicity in the Nationalist regime's brutality and corruption and her lavish lifestyle, which alienated China's impoverished masses. Li is barely adequate at sketching the 105 years of Chinese history Chiang's life spanned, but she offers a well-researched, fluently written assessment of the life and impact of one of the 20th century's iconic figures. Photos, map. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Madame Chiang Kai-shek — a Booklist Editors' Choice for 2006  is the first biography of one of the most controversial and fascinating women of the twentieth century. Raised in a powerful Chinese family, the beautiful, brilliant, and captivating Soong Mayling married Nationalist leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and went on to become his chief adviser, interpreter, and propagandist. When the Communists broke with Chiangs Nationalist Party, Mayling and her sister, the widow of Sun Yat-Sen, found themselves on opposing sides of a civil war. A relentless crusader speaking out against Communism well into her nineties, she sparred with international leaders and impressed Westerners and Chinese alike with her acumen, charm, and glamour. But she was also decried as a manipulative “Dragon Lady” and was despised for living in Western-style splendor while Chinese citizens suffered under her husbands brutal oppression. The result of years of extensive research in the United States and abroad and access to previously classified CIA and diplomatic files, here at last is the story of an extraordinary woman who has become a symbol of Americas long, vexed love affair with China and Chinas own struggle to define itself as a world power.
"Synopsis" by , In a life that spanned the 20th century (1898-2003), Madame Chiang Kai-Shek was inextricably entwined with China's tempestuous evolution from the imperial Qing Dynasty to the end of colonialism in Hong Kong. In this first biography of one of history's most intriguing and controversial political figures, Li shows how Madame Chiang influenced decades of Sino-American relations and modern Chinese history.
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