Tzu Hsi – The Last Empress and the Rape of China


Imperial Woman: The Story of the Last Empress of China, by Pearl Buck

456 pages – Open Road Media (On Kindle – May 21, 2013)

This is the story of Tzu Hsi, a woman who rose from obscurity to rule first as regent to her son, the boy emperor, then ultimately as the last Empress of China from 1861 to 1908. Her death heralded the end of the old China. The empire collapsed only three years after her death, in 1911.

First chosen as one of many concubines to the young emperor – no more than a child himself – she manipulates herself into position as his favorite, cultivates his favor until he depends on her completely. Still in love with her childhood sweetheart, a single night of love produces a son, the next emperor.

Intelligent, highly (self) educated Tzu Hsi makes herself essential to her debauched, physically weakened…

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14 Responses to Tzu Hsi – The Last Empress and the Rape of China

  1. reyna says:

    I love reading through a post that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

    • Teepee12 says:

      It’s quite a story. Reads like fiction … stranger than fiction. It had been a long time since I read this … 50 years. It made me think too.

      • Mark Twain was right when he said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obligated to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”

      • Teepee12 says:

        In fiction, every action or encounter has a reason for happening. In real life, things can be and are random, and conincidences are just that — coincidental 🙂

      • True and we can only hope that our reactions to a random act of life are appropriate and we walk away undamaged physically and mentally. That we are strong enough to survive. But those random acts—even the bad ones—may turn out good if we learn from them and are stronger the next time one of those unexpected challenges comes our way.

      • Teepee12 says:

        Life is nothing if not unexpected!

      • So true. My wife and I understand what that means and we live each day hoping to be ready for the unexpected when it arrives. Of course, we can’t plan for everything but we can try.

      • Teepee12 says:

        Best for me turns out to be something of an empty vessel, ready to change and respond to anything. I really DO always worry about the wrong things.

      • Worrying about the wrong things may be human nature. Then years later we may look back and laugh at what we were worried about. When I was much younger—for a few years—I kept a journal as a means of therapy where I logged in daily what was bothering me. Eventually, years later, I read those entries and found myself bursting out laughing at the trivial things that I had agonized over. At the time, those things did not seem trivial. But in reflection, they were insignificant compared to the problems faced by so many around the world. Everything is relative until we have the luxury to look back.

      • Teepee12 says:

        Yup. I look back and realize how much time and emotional energy I invested in what turned out to be nothing … while never anticipating what was really lurking around the next bend. That’s why I decided to quit worrying. Not to give up planning or strategizing, but worry. I’m pretty good at dealing with things that happen, horrendous though they may be … at least so far, so good. But worry is like gnawing off your own foot. It accomplishes nothing good and makes us (and the people around us) miserable.

      • I agree. While serving in Vietnam in 1966, I learned all about worry/fear the day an invisible sniper took his shot and came within a fraction of an inch of taking me out.

        I wrote about that incident in this post:

  2. Teepee12 says:

    Thanks for the reblog!

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