Talk about living history! The Last Manchu is about the Last Emperor of China, Henry Pu Yi, written in his own words.This is a remarkable and sad read. Remarkable because we are given a rare insight into an otherwise hidden world and sad because Henry Pu Yi was in this hidden world that bore no relation to the world outside it.
Pu Yi tells unbelievable tales of the incredible customs that went on behind the closed walls of The Forbidden City. He feeds us stories of Eunuchs, fabulous wealth, strict traditions, his wet nurse, his marriages, his relationship with his English tutor Reginald Johnston and finally of his captivity.
Henry Pu Yi was forced to abdicate in 1911 after which he was a prisioner of both China and Russia, (where he was sent to a Siberian prison). He was finally declared a free man at the end of his life and died of natural causes in 1967 age 61.
How often does one get to read such a story? It is amazing that Pu Yi survived it all, and yet he did!
An interesting and sad book about a lonely man who was also a prisoner of the world.
The New York Times writes ‘Important and fascinating’ I would agree with that.
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