In 1851, a sixteen--year--old girl named Yehonala entered the Imperial Palace of China as a concubine third grade, leaving behind her family, the love of her life, and nearly all contact with the outside world. She emerged as Tsu Hsi, Dowager Empress of China and one of the most powerful autocrats in history. A fascinating tale of love, betrayal, murder, intrigue, and survival, The Last Empress offers remarkable insight into life behind the closed doors of the forbidden city.
Keith Laidler is an anthropologist, author and filmmaker. He is the author of seven books and producer of a large number of films, for some of which he did his own camera work. Originally concentrating on nature films, Dr Laidler worked with Sir David Attenborough on The Living Planet. His production company, Wolfshead Productions has made a number of highly acclaimed documentaries for a variety of broadcasters. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from Durham University. Dr Laidler has a strong interest in China, which he visits regularly as founder of The Panda Trust, an organisation formed to protect the panda. He has, over recent years, turned his investigative techniques towards history and religion.
Authora s note. Acknowledgements. Cast of major characters. Maps. Introduction. Timeline. No joy shall be equal... The coming of the Manchu. Concubine, third class. The Great Within. Rebels and foreign devils. The Emperor flees. Acts of barbarism. Silent conspiracy. An auspicious beginning. Death of a favourite. The Emperora s a good fortunea . Slicing the melon. When a bird is dying. a Retirementa . Rebel Emperor. Coup and countercoup. Self--strengthening. The Righteous Harmonious Fists. Siege at Beijing. Flight ... and return. Reluctant departure. Epilogue. Postscript. References and notes. Bibliography. Index.