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The Immobile Empire [Kindle Edition]

Alain Peyrefitte
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
You Save: $12.16 (51%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In 1793, Lord George Macartney and an enormous delegation—including diplomats, doctors, scholars, painters, musicians, soldiers, and aristocrats—entered Beijing on a mission to open China to British trade. But Macartney’s famous refusal to perform the traditional kowtow before the Chinese Emperor was just one sign that the two empires would not see eye to eye, and the trade talks failed. The inability to develop a trade relation would have enormous consequences for future relations between China and the West. Peyrefitte’s vivid narrative of this fascinating encounter is based on extraordinary source materials from each side—including the charming and candid diary of Thomas Staunton, the son of one of Macartney’s aides. An example of history at its finest, The Immobile Empire recaptures the extraordinary experience of two great empires in collision, sizing each other up for the first time.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

French historian Peyrefitte's extraordinary account of the members of the British expedition that tried, unsuccessfully, to open China to Western trade in 1793 is at once a marvelous adventure tale, a dramatic reenactment of a decisive confrontation between East and West and a revealing comparative study of two cultures, each believing itself the world's most civilized. Self-assured Lord George Macartnay, leader of the mission, refused to kowtow before Chinese emperor Qianlong, who viewed the British as barbarian vassals and Macartnay as a common merchant. Members of the British delegation--among them doctors, painters, scholars and technicians--were amazed by China's wheat production methods but appalled by its approval of polygamy, infanticide, the mutilation of women's feet and its resistance to innovation. Peyrefitte sees the Celestial Court's rejection of Britain's gambit as a great missed opportunity for them, one which helps explain China's later decline. Illustrated with color plates and maps, the narrative follows China's ensuing chaos, exacerbated by opium smugglers, British naval assaults and indigenous rebellions. History Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Praise for Alain Peyrefitte's The Immobile Empire:

“A fascinating study of cross-cultural misunderstanding.”
The Chicago Tribune
“A rollicking good story with obvious and immediate parallels for today.”
The American Spectator
“Extraordinary . . . at once a marvelous adventure tale, a dramatic reenactment of a decisive confrontation between East and West and a revealing comparative study of two cultures, each believing itself the world’s most civilized.”
Publishers Weekly
“An elegant, illuminating and delightful book.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Painstakingly researched, gracefully written. . . . A smooth translation. . . . Peyrefitte's nearly day-by-day account will fascinate Sinologists and students of East-West affairs.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 10288 KB
  • Print Length: 690 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B000RJOG2C
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,281 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars east meets west January 3, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
one of the best ,and amusing reportage of the first official meeting of a western power[england] with a self centered empire.completely blinded by ignorance ,hubris ,and etiquette. SAD but interesting and at times amusing. Well written ,well researched ,well worth to be read,The author,a french diplomat,makes some intelligent and sad reflexions and observations on the loss of historical occasions,and the blindness and arrogance of bureaucratic, and authoritarian systems of government.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book November 1, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's quite an old book with over 20 years. However, I find all the pages are in a good status. And the content is wonderful!
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