This is a story that imperial China never wanted you to hear. It is the astonishing true tale of Frederick Townsend Ward, an American soldier of fortune who changed the course of Chinese history by leading one of the most extraordinary military campaigns the world has ever seen. Generations of anti-Americanism and political turmoil in China have erased nearly all traces of Ward’s legacy.
©1992 Caleb Carr (P)1980 Recorded Books, LLC
After enjoying The Alienist and Angel of Darkness so much, I was looking forward to this story. Sadly, it was as dry a read as I have seen in a long time. Nonfiction always runs the risk of being a list of names and facts, and this is what it seemed to me. Unfortunately, the author also failed research other characters completely, including the mis-information promulgated by Edmund Backhouse, an acknowledged albeit highly imaginative forger, who accused the Empress Dowager Tz'u-Hsi of murder, of fiscal fiscal improprieties, and lewd behavior with members of her court and guard. (Sterling Seagrave did a much more thorough job of researching the Empress Dowager' life and circumstances surrounding her rule.) I don't think I could be persuaded to read another non-fiction book by Mr. Carr.
This is an amazing story of a little-known American hero who fought for the defense of the people of Shanghai, yet is unknown today both in China and in the United States. The otherwise good narration is marred by an only adequate pronunciation of Chinese.
Enlightening, engaging, and compelling.
The descriptions of General Ward leading his Corps were amazing and conveyed the harrowing circumstances.
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