#Historybooks. Empress Wu: The Chinese Empress Who Schemed, Seduced, and Murdered Her Way to Becoming a Living God by Jonathan Clements. 3 out of 5 stars. Despite the lurid title, this book is an interesting overview of the remarkable Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty. Empress Wu began as a concubine and managed to become the wife of an Emperor, essentially ruling in his stead when he became ill. When he died, she took power from her own sons. This was a woman who knew how to get what she wanted and heaven help whoever got in her way. But, really, as the author responsibly points out, she was no different than any other Chinese Emperor. She just happened to be the first female who made herself emperor in her own right. Not regent, but truly Emperor. And she wielded that power confidently, even going so far as to change some Chinese characters to reflect her political philosophy. There are many nasty stories from her rule, all the way through to her old age. Of course, again as the author points out, we don’t necessarily know how many of the stories are true. The Tang Chronicles are mainly written by those who hated her and the very idea of a woman in power. I would have liked a longer book that went into more depth, but for those who have never heard of this historical figure, it’s a quick and enjoyable read.
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