This book is about the friendship of two women, the Empress Dowager Cixi and Sarah Pike Conger, the wife of an American diplomat stationed at Peking over the years 1898–1905. Mrs. Conger came to China in 1898 a middle-aged woman from Iowa who knew nothing of China's people or its culture. Yet she left seven years later one of the nation's most sympathetic defenders. A survivor of the Boxer Uprising, one of history's greatest clashes between East and West, Sarah stretched out a hand to the one person who bore the most blame for the disaster, the Empress Dowager Cixi. And Cixi, who had no reason to love any foreigner, put her hand in Sarah's. This book is the story behind that gesture and the extraordinary friendship that followed.
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