The Last Empress

Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China

By Hannah Pakula
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781439148945, 816pp.)

Publication Date: November 16, 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover

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Description

With the beautiful, powerful, and sexy Madame Chiang Kai-Shek at the center of one of the great dramas of the twentieth century, this is the story of the founding of modern China, starting with a revolution that swept away more than 2,000 years of monarchy, followed by World War II, and ending in eventual loss to the Communists and exile in Taipei. Praised by China scholar Jonathan Spence for “an impressive amount of telling material, drawn from a wide array of sources,” Pakula presents an epic historical tapestry, a wonderfully wrought narrative that brings to life what Americans should know about China—the superpower we are inextricably linked with.




About the Author

Hannah Pakula is the author of The Last Empress, which was a New York Times notable book, The Last Romantic, which was called by Graham Greene the best biography and one of the three best books of the year, and An Uncommon Woman, which was a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist. She lives in New York City.




Praise For The Last Empress

“Ms. Pakula writes like a dream, and her narrative is certainly a pleasure to read; anyone who wants to learn about China in the first half of the 20th century will find The Last Empress a good guide.”

--Melanie Kirkpatrick, The Wall Street Journal

“Pakula’s biography is often absorbing. Madame Chiang emerges as more than just her husband’s wife; we see a brilliant, scheming, deliberately alluring, brave, corrupt chameleon of a woman. . . . The Last Empress . . . presents Madame Chiang as far more complex, awful and brilliant than we had imagined.”

--Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Times Book Review



“Pakula’s biography is often absorbing. Madame Chiang emerges as more than just her husband’s wife; we see a brilliant, scheming, deliberately alluring, brave, corrupt chameleon of a woman. . . . The Last Empress . . . presents Madame Chiang as far more complex, awful and brilliant than we had imagined.”

--Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Times Book Review



“The tale of Soon May-ling, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s American-educated wife, is epic in scope. Hannah Pakula brings vividly to life the tormented odyssey of China during the 20th Century and the enthralling life story of this singular woman in a wonderfully accessible way.”

--Orville Schell, Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society

“A richly complex account of 20th-century China . . . thoroughly engrossing. . . . A vivid if often unflattering portrait of a charismatic Chinese patriot, her husband and family, in tumultuous and tragic times.”

--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Last Empress . . . presents Madame Chiang as far more complex, awful and brilliant than we had imagined.”

--Jonathan Mirsky, The New York Times Book Review

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