In the final year of the 19th century, China was in grave danger of becoming a colony of the West.While various powers bickered over how to slice the pie, their very presence in China, new technologies, and Christian missions, undermined the people's traditional ways. In response, a strange, reactionary movement began to spread like wildfire among the Chinese peasants, and would soon terrorize the foreign community and the world. The Boxer Rebellion is a panoramic chronicle of the Boxer uprising and ensuing two-month siege of the 11 foreign ministries in Peking during the summer of 1900. It left tens of thousands of Chinese dead, precipitated the end of dynastic rule in China, and has tainted China's relationship with the wider world to this day. It was also a richly human story. Relying on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of the defenders, and on her own extensive research from both Chinese and western perspectives, Diana Preston portrays the dramatic human experience of the Boxer uprising: in the diplomatic district of Peking, cut off from the outside world during the desperate weeks of the siege; behind the Byzantine walls of Peking's Inner City, where decisions were made that forever changed the face of Chinese society; among the allied relief forces struggling to lift the siege; in the aftermath when the great city was looted and despoiled. As in A First Rate Tragedy, her acclaimed life of Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott, Diana Preston proves herself a master of narrative history, a writer who brings the past alive with style and freshness. Seen through the lens of the rapid changes in society and culture at the time, The Boxer Rebellion is an important addition to our knowledge of the 20th century.
A dramatic narrative that can be read on the beach or in the classroom...well-researched and lavishly descriptive accounts.