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Moving from the intimacy of the concubine quarters into the spotlight of the world stage, Orchid makes a dramatic metamorphosis from a strong-willed young woman to a wise political leader, who must not only face the perilous condition of her fading empire but also a series of devastating personal losses. Yearning to step aside yet growing constantly into her role, only she can hold the nation's rival factions together.
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Would you try another book written by Anchee Min or narrated by Alexandra O'Karma?
I like Anchee Min and will buy the paperback...can't listen to this book...the narration is so bad....such a pity another wasted credit....but I'm to blame I should have listened to the sample before purchasing.
2 people found this helpful
A Brilliant Insight
A brilliant insight into the mind of "The Last Empress" who talks to the listener about events that took place of which we know too little about. The little that we do know has only previously been presented to us from a solely European point of view. As our relationships with China and Chinese people become more pervasive it is invaluable to appreciate a Chinese perspective of the traumatic period of Chinese history and the destruction wrought by the self interest of Western powers in the face of a collective Chinese naivety. Maybe the Chinese remember only too well how poorly they fared diplomatically during this period. They may have learnt lessons from the suffering of Empress Orchid and the Ch'ing Dynasty and are ensuring that they don't make the same mistakes in their modern day relationships with the West.
It is possible to imagine all of this from listening to this book. At first I didn't think that the monologue would keep my attention but the way the story unfolds is captivating. The events that are described become more and more traumatic and momentous. The Empress communicates a compelling sense of amazement, bewilderment and disbelief as despite her remarkable efforts, she can't prevent her world from collapsing in around her.
1 person found this helpful
- Anonymous User
Interesting to listen too
Enjoyed the story, but was glad it was audio, as I think I would of got lost with all the Chinese names
Superb narration and fascinating but wordy
A brilliant follow-up to Min's Empress Orchid, this is a great book for anyone with an interest in Chinese history. This period straddles the imperial and republic periods, and offers an intimate look at Orchid/Cixi's experiences as Empress.
The detail is quite thorough, and sometimes I felt the focus was a bit too specific and the pace dragged in parts. I wonder as well how biased the account is, as Cixi was a controversial figure but this book presents her in a near-perfect light.
That said, overall it was fascinating and compelling. The narration is top notch and actually comes across as rather regal, as befits the Empress.
Again, highly recommended if you're into history!