The Immobile Empire by Alain Peyrefitte

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In 1793, Lord George Macartney and an enormous delegation—including diplomats, doctors, scholars, painters, musicians, soldiers, and aristocrats—entered Beijing on a mission to open China to British trade. But Macartney’s famous refusal to perform the traditional kowtow before the Chinese Emperor was just one sign that the two empires would not see eye to eye, and the trade talks failed. The inability to develop a trade relation would have enormous consequences for future relations between China and the West. Peyrefitte’s vivid narrative of this fascinating encounter is based on extraordinary source materials from each side—including the charming and candid diary of Thomas Staunton, the son of one of Macartney’s aides. An example of history at its finest, The Immobile Empire recaptures the extraordinary experience of two great empires in collision, sizing each other up for the first time.

About Alain Peyrefitte

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Alain Peyrefitte was a French scholar, politician, and author. He had a long career in public service, serving as a diplomat in Germany and Poland and as minister of information and minister of justice. He became a member of the Académie française in 1977. He is the author of several books including The Immobile Empire and The Trouble with France.
Published May 21, 2013 by Vintage. 690 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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 A painstakingly researched, gracefully written, but far too leisurely account of the misadventures of an 18th-century British royal delegation to the Celestial Court of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Immobile Empire (Vintage)

Publishers Weekly

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French historian Peyrefitte's extraordinary account of the members of the British expedition that tried, unsuccessfully, to open China to Western trade in 1793 is at once a marvelous adventure tale, a

Sep 28 1992 | Read Full Review of The Immobile Empire (Vintage)

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