Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors: The Reign-by-reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial China
Spanning more than two thousand years, from the first emperor, buried with his terra-cotta army in the third century B.C., to the last emperor, enthroned in the Forbidden City as a boy of four in 1911, Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors presents the entire history of this vast and still mysterious region through the stories of its all-powerful rulers.
The Chinese imperial system combined a highly centralized administration with a Confucian philosophy of moral-political beliefs. The emperor was the Son of Heaven and enjoyed semi-divine powers, but he was not infallible: should he fail his subjects, rebellion was justified. The emperors therefore weathered centuries of violent change and, despite brutal revolts and civil wars, remained at the center of the largest political unit in the world, the Middle Kingdom.
The emperors were an extraordinary group of men -- and one woman, Wu Zetian -- whose virtues and faults were magnified by their exalted position. Many were literary scholars and painters (the Song emperor, Huizong, founded an imperial academy of painting). Some were mentally retarded; and some left the control of the empire to their eunuchs, concubines, or dowager empresses. Under able rulers, China's frontiers expanded, dominating Central and Southeast Asia; under weak rulers the frontiers shrank, and for centuries the country was occupied by alien Mongols. It took the arrival of a civilization from the West with superior firepower finally to shake the Middle Kingdom's foundations.
The detailed coverage includes:
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - pbjwelch - LibraryThing
I can't even begin to count the ways I have found this book useful throughout the last decades or more--when I need general information about a specific emperor, when I am trying to put together a ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - wildbill - LibraryThing
This book sets out a series of short biographies of all of the Chinese Emperors in chronological order. This provides a useful overview of the history of Imperial China. It provides coverage of those ... Read full review