Li Hsiu-ch'eng - the Loyal Prince - was the most important military leader on the rebel side during the last years of the Taiping Rebellion in China (1851-64). The Taiping Rebellion has been called the greatest popular revolt in modern history, and it came remarkably close to toppling the Ch'ing empire some fifty years before it was finally overthrown in 1911. Captured in June 1864 by government forces, Li Hsiu-ch'eng spent the final days before his inevitable execution writing a personal account of the Rebellion and his role in it. His Deposition is the fullest narrative by a participant and an invaluable historical document. The original manuscript of the Deposition was withheld by the government commander Tseng Kuo-fan and his descendants, and a shortened, bowdlerized version prepared for publication. Li himself was considered a great revolutionary hero in China until the Cultural Revolution when he was reassessed in a major public debate of considerable political significance.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. The capture of Li Hsiu-ch'eng and the origin of the Deposition; 3. Tseng Kuo-fan and Li Hsiu-ch'eng; 4. Tseng Kuo-fan and the Deposition; 5. A hero made and overthrown; 6. Li Hsiu-ch'eng and his Deposition: an assessment.
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