First of all, in response to several negative comments about the author, there is no such thing as "objective history" or "an objective historical account". This is why we have Marxist historians, Feminist historians, Revisionist historians, and so on endlessly. All historical analysis is invariably subjective one way or another depending on the historical lens we happen to be using to analyze the given facts and events. This is how we find historical patterns, this is how a thesis on a subject develops. Without the subjectivity inherent in historical retellings there would be no such thing as Historiography.What you *can* have is a well-researched and well-documented narrative where the facts and events are presented in such a way that your particular (dare I say it) bias, thesis, or main idea is at least plausible, and I believe this book has done that.I will agree with most that the way in which Mr. Seagrave documents his books is academically annoying if not irresponsible, given that there are no references to his endnotes in the text, which makes following up on his references tricky. There are also several places where I would have liked to have seen a source cited. Still, these sections can easily be ignored or dismissed as the authors opinion and/or speculation with just a little bit of effort and mental discipline on the readers part. They do not detract from the overall value of the book as an informative view into the environment surrounding the political crises following the collapse of the Manchu Qing Dynasty to the founding of the People's Republic.Perhaps, then, as a source this book leaves something to be desired, but as a narrative I believe it fills in some important gaps relating to Sino-US relations at the time of the Revolution. Also, it does a good job of shedding light into just how clueless American policy-makers were regarding Chinese politics and culture, and how vulnerable they were to being manipulated by people like Henry Luce from Time, T.V. Soong and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek. Finally, it helps show the disastrous consequences of drafting policy without a clear understanding of the culture in question, a message that is as relevant today as it was then, perhaps more so. The book is well-written, the endnotes section is there and is quite extensive, as is the Works Cited section.
The three sisters, and the family that produced them.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
Seagrave's work is not always well documented, and he is really more of a storyteller than an historian. Having said that, his stuff is usually a quick read, and does give plenty of interesting information about the period he is discussing. This book is about the Soong family, and you will not get a grasp of the development of modern China without understanding this family. The title, of course, is a play on words, because it has nothing to do with the classic dynasties of antiquity. Rather, it chronicles the development of the family of Charlie Soong, and discusses how this family influenced the development of modern China. Charlie Soong managed to get a job on a ship, and spent some time as a sailor off the East Coast of the United States. His life took a very important turn when he wandered into a revival meeting in the old south, and became a Christian. He was subsequently educated and sent back to China as a missionary. Unable to support himself on $15 a month, he eventually became involved with the underworld in order to earn enough to feed his family. Charlie had three daughters. The oldest married a Wall Street financier. The second eloped with Sun Yat Sen. The youngest daughter married Chiaing Kai-Shek. It is not possible to study the history of China in the Twentieth Century without running into this family over and over again.
things are not what they seem
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
I'm always intrigued by the Soong's family. I have searched endlessly for materials that would shed some light upon the family history. This book didn't disappoint. I couldn't help be amazed with those complex networks that were set up behind the scene that benefited the power & money brokers. Ultimately, it's all about greed. Haven't we seen this all before? It seems like people just don't learn from history. Should the readers read the next offering by the same author, Yamato Dynasty, you wouldn't help noticing the uncanny resemblance between the traits of those people who got their hands dirtied.
Shocking, evocative, revealing
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 21 years ago
Sterling Seagrave have indeed spoken for the concubine in the well. It is a MUST for those interested in China from the Fall of the Ching dynasty to the Fall of the Nationalists. It is an education for anyone who knows about the KMT, who think they know about the KMT and those who know nothing about the KMT.
Brian Wayne Wells, reviews, "The Soong Dynasty"
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
Controversial as the subject matter may be, Sterling Seagrave's 1982 book, "The Soong Dynasty" certainly is an interesting and behind-the-scenes view of the gangs and warlords that Chiang Kai-shek relied on to attain power and to stay in power in Nationalist China before the Revolution of 1949. Sterling Seagrave rightly comes by his ability to dig behind the scenes on the subject matter of the book. He is an investigative journalist and was raised in the Orient. All of his books deal with oriental subjects and are written in an attractive manner which keeps the reader anxious to read more.
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