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Perpetual Happiness: The Ming Emperor Yongle Paperback – January 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0295981246 ISBN-10: 0295981245

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295981245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295981246
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,875,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A skillful biography of a figure who might be called China's Peter the Great. The son of the founder of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) removed the capital to Beijing, built the Great Wall, finished the Grand Canal, and made the court bureaucracy even more powerful and efficient, all the while encouraging exploration abroad (and putting down rebellion at home). Yongle was the force behind construction of the Forbidden City, home to himself and the 22 later emperors." - Vancouver Sun "A colorful historical biography of one of the most revered emperors of China and a vivid portrait of life during the Ming dynasty. Scholar Tsai's lively writing will infect even non-scholarly audiences with his own evident enthusiasm for his subject." - Publishers Weekly "Perpetual Happiness offers not only a view of a usurper who ushered in a cosmopolitan era in the Ming dynasty but also a description of the empire - its government, its economy, and its relations with foreigners. Tsai's biography yields perspective on the life and times of the most renowned of the Ming emperors, with considerable attention devoted to the country he sought to shape." - Morris Rossabi "Yongle traveled with an entourage of government officials and courtiers and logistical personnel that make American presidential trips look puny - and the Emperor always took with him 10,000 cavalry soldiers and 40,000 foot soldiers. Yongle, in short, never did anything in a small way." - Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

From the Back Cover

"Yongle traveled with an entourage of government officials and courtiers and logistical personnel that make American presidential trips look puny--and the Emperor always took with him 10,000 cavalry soldiers and 40,000 foot soldiers. Yongle, in short, never did anything in a small way." -- Nicholas D. Kristof, (New York Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Crossfit Len on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shih Shan Henry Tsai has done something that Jonathan Spence has not been able to do: write a book that people can read and understand. No offense to Spence, I know he is considered the man for Chinese history, but maybe he is a better speaker than writer, because I can't get through any of his books and I have a strong background in Chinese History.
Professor Tsai has taken primary and secondary sources about the second Ming Emperor or third depending on how you look at it and turned it into a interesting, well written, little book. The book is only about 200 pages and it is a quick read, but at the same time highly informative.
I did not know much about the Ming Dynasty or Emperor Yongle before reading this book, but now I do. To me a good history book is one where you learn things you did not know before, and this book did that.
I recommend this book highly to anyone who enjoys Chinese history. And if you want to read a more modern history of China look at Mandate of Heaven by Orville Schell.
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By zinnia on June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave me a real feel for the epoch and the cultural values of that period. The portrait of the emperor Yung Lo was excellent. He really came to life.

Zinnia
Washington, DC
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wakeforest on November 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a historian specializing Chinese history. I am very disappointed by the author's work. Comparing to Jonathan Spence's books and Ray Huang's book on Ming history, this book is very boring and lack of deepness. The author has made a great effort to gather a lot of details but they are so fragmental. The author fails to contextualize Yongle and his time, making Yongle so isolated in the Ming history. Those long citations easily put readers into sleep. As an academic book, it lacks a special perspective and has no argument. As a text book, it's hard to attract students because there is no story.
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