Madame Chiang Kai-shek: Book summary and reviews of Madame Chiang Kai-shek by Laura Tyson Li

Madame Chiang Kai-shek

China's Eternal First Lady

by Laura Tyson Li

Madame Chiang Kai-shek by Laura Tyson Li

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Book Summary

The first biography of one of history's most intriguing and controversial political figures. Beautiful, brilliant, and captivating, Madame Chiang Kai-shek seized unprecedented official and unofficial power during China's long and violent civil war. She passionately argued against Chinese Communism in the international arena and influenced decades of Sino-American relations and modern Chinese history. Raised in one of China's most powerful families — the Soongs — and educated at Wellesley College, Soong Mayling went on to become wife, adviser, interpreter, and propagandist to Nationalist leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. An international crusader who continued speaking out against Communism well into her nineties, Mayling sparred with Churchill and Roosevelt and impressed Westerners and Chinese alike with her acumen, charm, and glamour. But she was also decried as a manipulative "Dragon Lady," and despised for living in American-style splendor while Chinese citizens suffered her husband's brutal oppression.

The result of years of research including access to previously classified CIA, Taiwanese, and diplomatic files, Madame Chiang Kai-shek objectively evaluates the legacy of one of the most powerful and fascinating women of the twentieth century.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A well-balanced biography of one of the most powerful women in Chinese history." - Kirkus.
"Starred review. Li brilliantly analyzes a fearless and profoundly conflicted woman of extraordinary force." - Booklist.

"The first biography of the Wellesley-educated charmer portrays her as a tragically complex Scarlett O'Hara figure, at once outspoken and submissive, devoutly religious and coldly calculating, triumphantly Chinese and alien to her compatriots." - The Atlantic Monthly.

"Laura Tyson Li's incisive new biography… rises to the tall task of capturing this pivotal figure in all her splendor and humiliation, against a backdrop of war, revolution and unending political turmoil." - Los Angeles Times.

"Madame Chiang Kai-Shek belongs with Eleanor Roosevelt and Eva Peron as three of the most politically influential women of the past century. In her comprehensive biography, Laura Tyson Li... presents both sides of this complicated woman." - USA Today.

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More Information

Madame Chiang Kai-shek died in 2003, at the age of 106.

For more about this book, see the author's website.

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