Wednesday 24 January 2024

Books on Wednesday - The Boxer Rebellion

A good history book will make you feel that you have been transported back in time and are walking the same dusty streets.

A good writer will make you want to keep reading and Diana Preston is a good writer. This was the first of her books l read but l have read others.

The Boxer Rebellion happened in 1900, over a century ago but reading this book made me feel like it was happening in the moment. So much has changed and yet nothing has. It is not a pleasant story and there is fault on both sides, but, so much of it is a human story with emotions that do not change. In the same way that Shakespeare's works are still relevant today so are the emotions that are in this book.

It is a true story and, let's not forget, that it was 15 years later that the First World War started. That famous phrase by George Santayana kept running through my mind as l was reading: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

I think Diana Preston gives a fair retelling of the story. She does not favour either side. The language she uses and the pace of narrative made this a very interesting book to read. 

China is a country that interests me and l know that there are viewers from China who look at my website. Could l ask then are there any walls still standing around Beijing and is there any housing that has been preserved from those times. I know here in Melbourne l see photos from that time and hardly recognise the city. It would be interesting to know if the same thing has happened in China.

And that's another sign of a good book: it makes you think of it after you have finished reading it and l definitely have been thinking about this book. For those of you who like reading about history l think this is certainly one worth reading.


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