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What a great picture of the history of Communist China and Taiwan! Like many books that give you only one perspective, this biography of Mayling prompted as many questions as it answered. I especially liked the epilogue where Laura Tyson Li provides her own suppositions and conclusions based on the enormous amount of research and experience that went into writing this book.
Mayling Soon, born in Shanghai 1898, lived throughout the entire 20th Century to be 105 years old and left her mark upon the world dying in 2003. As the wife of General and President Chiang Kai-Shek the darling of the East was known throughout the world as Madame Chiang Kai-Shek the First Lady of the Republic of China. Many compared her to Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale. Did she marry for love, fame, power, patriotism and the interest of China, to spread Christianity or to seek personal we...
Mayling Soong deserved much better. The book was readable but the author for example spends endless pages on dermatology, and every skin eruption or rash she seems to have had is mentioned, while things like the Chinese intervention in Korea, Nationalist Chinese contribution of troops to the defense of S Vietnam are ignored. The author also seems a bit "pink" coloring the supporters of the Nationalists as corrupt, fascists and supporters of the Communist "agrarian reformers" who have been reveal...
Unfortunately, this was a cursory overview of the Kuomintang and the Chinese Revolution along with a glimpse into the life of a 105 year old woman and her family. Though it was a somewhat entertaining the book was tedious, and the recounting of such a luminous life should not have been told through the lens of her husband and China but through an objective author looking to unlock the layers of her complicated existence.
I don't feel as though I got very much insight into Madame's life. The description of the world events during her period is extremely slanted (and sometimes downright vague), something that surprises me coming from an author with a background in journalism. I much prefer the style of the biography I own on the Generalissimo.
This biography was really well-written, very thorough, and an informative history of this time in China/Taiwan. But I had difficulty getting through the book because I found Madame Chiang Kai-shek to be so egotistical, domineering, and cluelessly classist. But I know this was my issue as I so wanted to like her, as one of the first internationally recognized women leaders.
Reading this book gave me a background story of the early stage of ROC. It seemed that Madam Chiang had determination in making many polices. But the question is how big her role? I reckon if u wanna know bout its relation with the US u could read "Plain Speaking" written by Merle Miller.
Laura Tyson Li has assembled a spectacular bio. It's page turner with the authority and detail of an encyclopedia. LTL has managed to keep her opinions out of the text. It isn't until the last chapter when through an informed discussion on the Madame's possible motivations that LTL becomes subjective.While almost every aspect of this life is intriguing, certain people and episodes stand out. I had forgotten Zhang Xueliang until he emerged in Hawaii with his wife after a 50 year house arrest. App...
I had been curious about Madame Chiang (Soong Mayling) for a long time. I once heard that she was a Christian and an anti-Communist. I recently found several biographies had been written about her and chose this one. Admittedly, I know very little of Chinese history, so I don't really know if this biography has a particular slant. It seemed to be balanced and well-researched in its coverage. It was definitely not an easy read and took me over four weeks to read just under 500 pages. Mayling's fa...
I've given up... cried uncle! This book could have been half the length and nothing would have been lost -- which means that half the time I spent reading it was spent wondering: 'why am I doing this'. Those with more patience may have better luck.(this book is not well written -- surprising given that the author is a successful journalist -- you can sometimes see the author's workshop peering through the prose -- and it is not a well-stocked shop. The book also has a certain gossipy tone to it,...
I prefer one temperature for cooking: High. The gas stove gives a satisfying pop before spitting out a nasty flame that engulfs the pan in an inferno of heat. In the interesting biography, Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China’s Eternal First Lady, by Laura Tyson Li, Madame Chiang Kai-shek lived her life like my stove, cranked up to full power and scorching a path through history. She was vain, spoiled, brilliant and tragic. Her actions showed that she would make moral compromises, underhanded deals, an...
This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in some time. I knew little about the madame. I found this book highly informative, fascinating and thought provoking. The epilogue was excellent! One of the best I've ever read. It seems the author put a lot into this book. This allows me to look @ China through a different lens. I've read Mao's biography and was highly appalled at the horrible acts he performed. But this is different any many ways. The madame was more of a celebrity it galls
I read this book after traveling in China for a month and seeing some of the "landmark" places where the Revolution started. It's a fascinating book, an incredible story, but a very tough read. I stuck with it since I had just come back from China, otherwise I think I would have given up. I certainly skimmed through much of it. I completely agree with the reviewer who said the book could have been half as long. With a good "hard edit", this would be a fabulous read.
Although it took me a long time to finish this biography, it was worth it. This unusual woman born in China and educated in the United State from approximately age 10 to age 20 was in the thick of all things political for about 60 years. She lived to be 105 years old and saw the world change significantly while believing that she had not also changed. I was interested to learn her part in the McCarthy Era and other developments in United States history.
Mademe Chiang had played rather influential role in modern Chinese history, both directly and indirectly. What amazed me is that I saw some similarity between Taiwan under dictatorship of Chiang and mainland now. OF course People in China now have much more freedom than those back in 60s,70s in Taiwan, but it seems still a long way to go before mainlanders fully embrace democracy.
This was a gift from a friend so felt obligated to finish it, although it took me awhile to get through it. It did give me information and insight into China and their history, which I appreciated, but it was too long and so much devoted to her physical afflictions. It makes me want to know more about China and Taiwan, but not in this format.
Wonderful review on the history of post-monarchy China and Taiwan via a vis Myling Chiang Kai-Shek. A tale of many missed opportunities as Chiang and she could have transformed China into a power 70 years ago.
Towering historical figure, a must read to understand China's development during the 20th century.