Perpetual Happiness

The Ming Emperor Yongle

Shih-shan Henry Tsai

  • Published: 2001. Paperback 2002
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 286 pp., 12 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

A colorful portrait of the greatest of the Ming emperors. Builder of the Great Wall, Yongle (1368-1644) also moved the capital to Beijing and built the Forbidden City, completed the Grand Canal, strengthened the court bureaucracy, and explored the world.
Shih-shan Henry Tsai is professor of history and director of Asian studies at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of four books, including Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty.

"Perpetual Happiness offers not only a view of a usurper who ushered in a cosmopolitan era in the Ming dynasty but also a description of the empire - its government, its economy, and its relations with foreigners. Tsai's biography yields perspective on the life and times of the most renowned of the Ming emperors, with considerable attention devoted to the country he sought to shape."
-Morris Rossabi
List of Maps
A Day in the Life of Yongle's Court: February 23, 1423
The Formative Years, 1360-1382
The Years of Waiting, 1382-1398
The Years of Successional Struggle, 1398-1402
The Years of Reconstruction: Goverment and Politics, 1402-1420
The Years of Rehabilitation: Society and Economy, 1402-1421
The Emperor of Culture
Yongle and the Mongols
The Price of Glory
Appendix: The Children of Emperor Hongwu
Glossary of Chinese Characters

"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."
-Publishers Weekly

"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."
-Vancouver Sun

"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