The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China

A History by David J. Silbey

  • Published: Jul 26, 2020

The year is 1900, and Western empiresboth old and neware locked in regional entanglements across the globe. The British are losing a bitter war against the Boers while the German kaiser is busy building a vast new navy. The United States is struggling to... read more

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Details of The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China

Exact title of the book
The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China
Book author
David J. Silbey
ISBN
9781429942577
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Mar 27, 2012
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
304
File size (in PDF)
2736 kB

Some brief overview of book

The year is 1900, and Western empiresboth old and neware locked in regional entanglements across the globe. The British are losing a bitter war against the Boers while the German kaiser is busy building a vast new navy. The United States is struggling to put down an insurgency in the South Pacific while the upstart imperialist Japan begins to make clear to neighboring Russia its territorial ambition.

In China, a perennial pawn in the Great Game, a mysterious group of superstitious peasants is launching attacks on the Western powers they fear are corrupting their country. These ordinary Chinesecalled Boxers by the West because of their martial arts showmanshiprise up, seemingly out of nowhere. Foreshadowing the insurgencies of the more recent past, they lack a centralized leadership and instead tap into latent nationalism and deep economic frustration to build their army.

Their battle cry "Support the Qing, exterminate the foreigners." Many scholars brush off the Boxers as an ill-conceived and easily defeated revolt, but the military historian David J. Silbey shows just how close they came to beating back the combined might of all the imperial powers. Drawing on the diaries and letters of allied soldiers and diplomats, Silbey paints a vivid portrait of the short-lived war.

Even though their cause ended just as quickly as it began, the bravery and patriotism of the Boxers would inspire Chinese nationalistsincluding a young Mao Zedongfor decades to come.

About author

J. Silbey teaches at Cornell University's Washington, D. C., campus.

He is the author of A War of Frontier and Empire The Philippine-American War, 18991902.

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