Jung Chang: The history detective

Jung Chang, the bestselling author of Wild Swans, talks to Serena Kutchinsky in the Prospect magazine about courting controversy, censorship and why she prefers writing about women

On her new book, Empress Dowager Cixi, she says: I first encountered the Empress Dowager when I was researching Wild Swans in the early 90s, and then again when I was looking into Chairman Mao’s childhood for my biography of him. I realised that all the freedoms Mao enjoyed as child in a China were largely the result of the Empress Dowager’s modernising reforms. It was a very different experience to the one I had growing up as a child under Mao’s repressive regime.

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