AUTUMN IN THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM by Stephen R. Platt
Stephen R. Platt
AUTUMN IN THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM
China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War
Published by Knopf February 9, 2012
“A splendid account of a cataclysmic rebellion.
“In 1837 a peasant named Hong Xiuquan announced that he was Jesus’ younger brother, sent to rid China of ‘devils,’ including its weak, corrupt, ethnically foreign Manchu rulers. His charisma attracted a vast following that by the 1850s had conquered a large area, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, with a capital at Nanjing.
“Despite the oddball theology, many Christian missionaries from England and elsewhere enthusiastically supported the Taipings, but could not win over their governments, who were preoccupied with pugnacious efforts to extract trading concessions from the enfeebled central government. Crushed with immense bloodshed, the rebellion left the Manchu dynasty even weaker, although it limped on for 50 more years.
“An upheaval that led to the deaths of 20 million, dwarfing the simultaneously fought American Civil War, deserves to be better known, and Platt accomplishes this with a superb history of a 19th-century China faced with internal disorder and predatory Western intrusions.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
“An eminently general interest treatment of what
may have been the most lethal civil war in world history.”
—Gilbert Taylor, BOOKLIST, a starred review
“A fascinating work by a first-class historian and superb writer. Stephen Platt brings to vivid life a pivotal chapter in China’s history that has been all but forgotten.” —Henry A. Kissinger
“A tragic and powerful story.”
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