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In a compelling reassessment of history, Seagrave shows how Empress Tzu Hsi, also known as the "Dragon Lady," achieved legendary status. She seduced and murdered her way to power in 1861 and was largely a creation of rumor, vendetta, phobia, and diary fantasy on the part of imperialist biographers of her day. It is a riveting chronicle of China's terminal encounter with the West and an astute look at the conqueror's need to create a monster where they could not find one.
"Mr. Seagrave has disinterred one of Chinese history's more shadowy figures and proven that truth is far more interesting than the bizarre myths that were attached to her. I have read [this book] with interest and admiration."--Paul Theroux