After an account of the early fishing and hunting communities in eastern Asia, the author describes the period of early urbanization, literacy, and empire-building in medieval Manchuria, and the constant struggle over five centuries to maintain independence against the great power of the Mongols, Chinese, and Russians. She investigates the origins and rise of the great leader, Nurgachi, and shows how he succeeded in founding the first Manchu state.
In 1636, ten years after Nurgachi’s death, his descendants declared themselves to masters of the Qing Empire, and from 1644 to 1912 the Manchus were among those conquerors of China who were "conquered" by it, and revels the subtle ways in which the rulers used a Chinese mask to achieve their ends (and to confuse European visitors).
The final chapters show the role of the West and Japan, in the undermining of Qing authority in the nineteenth century and in the sporadic attempts to restore it in the twentieth. The author considers the fate of the contemporary Manchu minority in China and examines the signs of a resurgent identity.
Pamela Kyle Crossley tells a fascinating story about the rise and fall of the Manchu empire. It is hard to believe, yet a fact that a 120.000 Manchu troops conquered all of China. Read morePublished 16 months ago by laurens van den muyzenberg
I read this book after Evelyn Rawski's "The Last Emperors" and it did answer & clarified a lot questions I had with regards to the Manchus and how they were like... Read morePublished on March 11, 2004