"A colorful historical biography of one of the most revered emperors of China and a vivid portrait of life during the Ming dynasty. Scholar Tsai's lively writing will infect even non-scholarly audiences with his own evident enthusiasm for his subject."
"A skillful biography of a figure who might be called China's Peter the Great. The son of the founder of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) removed the capital to Beijing, built the Great Wall, finished the Grand Canal, and made the court bureaucracy even more powerful and efficient, all the while encouraging exploration abroad (and putting down rebellion at home). Yongle was the force behind construction of the Forbidden City, home to himself and the 22 later emperors."
"Yongle traveled with an entourage of government officials and courtiers and logistical personnel that make American presidential trips look puny - and the Emperor always took with him 10,000 cavalry soldiers and 40,000 foot soldiers. Yongle, in short, never did anything in a small way."
-Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times