The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion

The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners That Shook the World in the Summer of 1900

Book - 2000
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Portrays the dramatic human experience of the Boxer Rebellion from both a Western and Chinese perspective, drawing on diaries, memoirs, and letters of those who lived through this pivotal time in the history of China.
Publisher: New York : Walker, c2000
ISBN: 9780802713612
Branch Call Number: 951.035 PRE
Characteristics: xxvii, 436 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Besieged in Peking


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Sep 20, 2017

In the summer of 1900, an obscure Chinese religious sect - known as Boxers after their belief that certain martial arts rituals could render them invulnerable to bullets - grew into a major movement. The Boxers demanded that the foreigners who had polluted and despoiled China be exterminated along with all those Chinese who followed their alien ways - especially the hundreds of thousands of Chinese Christians. Soon, the Boxer movement exploded into violence, with Boxers torturing, raping, and murdering their way across northern China. The Empress Dowager allied herself with the movement, and the foreigners resident in the capital of Peking found themselves besieged in their legations by a combination of Boxers and imperial troops. The defenders - Europeans, Japanese, and Chinese - held out through months of desperate if sporadic fighting until relieved by a multinational expeditionary force.

Preston admirably sifts through a mass of diaries, papers, and memoirs left behind by the Europeans trapped in Peking, which provide a wide range of sometimes conflicting perspectives. Unfortunately, the upheavals of the twentieth century have destroyed most of the primary sources on the Chinese side, and this means that the Chinese experience of the Rebellion remains largely a mystery. Dramatically, this is satisfying, as it places the reader in the shoes of the besieged, but it is devastating historically.

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