9780394714110 / 0394714113

Emperor of China Self-portrait of K'ang-hsi





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About the book:

This re-creation of the life of K'ang-hsi (1661-1772), drawn from his letters, edicts, pardons and poems. The Emperor K'ang-hsi was one of the greatest rulers in all China's 3000-year history, a man every bit as powerful as his two contemporaries, Peter the Great and Louis XIV. His long reign extended from 1661 to 1772, and when he died he left a flourishing and stable kingdom more vast than any other on earth. Yet the man himself has remained unknown: like all the emperors of China, K'ang-hsi lived out his days sealed behind screens of protocol - remote, exalted, his true nature an enigma. In this book the author has caused K'ang-hsi to reveal himself in his own words. Bear-hunting on the steppes, leading armies, doling out punishments and rewards, trying to understand everything from Western clocks to the "I Ching", siring 56 children by 30 consorts (and watching their heartbreaking intrigues), struggling with old age, K'ang-hsi emerges complex and engaging, a moving and human figure.

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