God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

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W. W. Norton & Company, Dec 17, 1996 - History - 432 pages

"A magnificent tapestry . . . a story that reaches beyond China into our world and time: a story of faith, hope, passion, and a fatal grandiosity."--Washington Post Book World

Whether read for its powerful account of the largest uprising in human history, or for its foreshadowing of the terrible convulsions suffered by twentieth-century China, or for the narrative power of a great historian at his best, God's Chinese Son must be read. At the center of this history of China's Taiping rebellion (1845-64) stands Hong Xiuquan, a failed student of Confucian doctrine who ascends to heaven in a dream and meets his heavenly family: God, Mary, and his older brother, Jesus. He returns to earth charged to eradicate the "demon-devils," the alien Manchu rulers of China. His success carries him and his followers to the heavenly capital at Nanjing, where they rule a large part of south China for more than a decade. Their decline and fall, wrought by internal division and the unrelenting military pressures of the Manchus and the Western powers, carry them to a hell on earth. Twenty million Chinese are left dead.

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User Review  - AndreasJ - LibraryThing

Hong Xiuquan was a failed candidate for the provincial civil service examinations in Guangdong, who in 1837 had a religious vision of going to Heaven, where he met his Heavenly Father and Heavenly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

So, yes, the writing was (for the most part) pretty dry and not that engaging. But I thought the topic was fascinating. My favorite part: reading how Hong Xiuquan rewrote Genesis to make it more to his liking. Noah wasn't drunk, he was just really tired! Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Jonathan D. Spence is Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, where he has taught for thirty years. He has been awarded MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. The Search for Modern China won the Lionel Gelber Award and the Kiriyama Book Prize.

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