The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China - THIRTEEN Forum
Pakula has combed through many English-language archives and secondary materials and conducted some revealing interviews, though she uses no sources in Chinese and offers little evaluation of the ones she does use. In a book this size, furthermore, there are bound to be mistakes and inadequate explanations. Pearl Buck did more than win a Pulitzer; in she became the first American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Harry S. Truman despised Chiang and the Soongs. She was also incredibly sexy.
Pakula convincingly argues that she had a one-night stand with Wendell Willkie in when the defeated presidential candidate was touring China though Jay Taylor doubts the story. The pair disappeared for several hours to one of her hideaway apartments. But the next day, Willkie had Cowles tell Madame she could not travel to Washington with him after all. T the Cairo summit meeting in November , when Chiang met Roosevelt and Churchill for the first time and where Madame managed the interpreting , Gen.
View all New York Times newsletters. Still, it was not her sexiness that enabled her to address a joint session of Congress in , the second woman ever to do so, and the first private citizen. Rather, it was, as Pakula shows, her intelligence, understanding of Americans she was a Wellesley graduate , eloquence and charisma. There is much in that. Although Madame Chiang had a mighty publicity machine, described well by Pakula, she was a brave woman as well as a persuasive one.
She traveled throughout dangerous Chinese war zones.
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When she married Chiang Kai-shek in , he was not yet a Christian, had already been married twice, and had a son and at least one concubine, but he was the making of her. Christopher Isherwood, traveling in China with W. Auden, met Madame Chiang in the late s.
Strangely enough, I have never heard anybody comment on her perfume. It is the most delicious either of us has ever smelt.
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Pakula draws a vivid if often unflattering portrait of a charismatic Chinese patriot, her husband and family, in tumultuous and tragic times. View Full Version of PW.
The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China: review
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