William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion: Heroism, Hubris and the ''Ideal Missionary''

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In 1900 in China a peasant movement known as the Boxers rose up and tried to destroy its Western oppressors. The culminating event of the Boxer Rebellion was the siege of the Western legations in Peking. In isolated Peking, a horde of brightly dressed, acrobatic, anti-Western and anti-Christian Boxers surrounded the fortified diplomatic legation compound, and rumors about the torture and murder of 900 Western diplomats, soldiers, and missionaries swirled throughout the foreign ...
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In 1900 in China a peasant movement known as the Boxers rose up and tried to destroy its Western oppressors. The culminating event of the Boxer Rebellion was the siege of the ... Western legations in Peking. In isolated Peking, a horde of brightly dressed, acrobatic, anti-Western and anti-Christian Boxers surrounded the fortified diplomatic legation compound, and rumors about the torture and murder of 900 Western diplomats, soldiers, and missionaries swirled throughout the foreign media. Scholars agree that animosity toward Christian missionaries was a major cause of the Boxer Rebellion, but most accounts neglect the missionaries and emphasize instead the diplomats and soldiers who weathered the siege and defeated the Chinese in battle. This book gives equivalent attention to the missionaries, their work, the impact they had on China, and the controversies arising in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion. It focuses particularly on one of the most distinguished American missionaries, William Scott Ament, whose brave and resourceful heroism was tarnished by hubris and looting. Read more Show Less

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In 1900 in China a peasant movement known as the Boxers rose up and tried to destroy its Western oppressors. The culminating event of the Boxer Rebellion was the siege of the ... Western legations in Peking. In isolated Peking, a horde of brightly dressed, acrobatic, anti-Western and anti-Christian Boxers surrounded the fortified diplomatic legation compound, and rumors about the torture and murder of 900 Western diplomats, soldiers, and missionaries swirled throughout the foreign media. Scholars agree that animosity toward Christian missionaries was a major cause of the Boxer Rebellion, but most accounts neglect the missionaries and emphasize instead the diplomats and soldiers who weathered the siege and defeated the Chinese in battle. This book gives equivalent attention to the missionaries, their work, the impact they had on China, and the controversies arising in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion. It focuses particularly on one of the most distinguished American missionaries, William Scott Ament, whose brave and resourceful heroism was tarnished by hubris and looting. About the Author Larry Clinton Thompson was a diplomat for the Department of State in Southeast Asia during the 1970s and has worked in more than thirty countries worldwide as a refugee advocate and humanitarian aid worker. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In 1900 in China a peasant movement known as the Boxers rose up and tried to destroy its Western oppressors. The culminating event of the Boxer Rebellion was the siege of the Western legations in Peking. In isolated Peking, a horde of brightly dressed, acrobatic, anti-Western and anti-Christian Boxers surrounded the fortified diplomatic legation compound, and rumors about the torture and murder of 900 Western diplomats, soldiers, and missionaries swirled throughout the foreign media.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786440085
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/22/2009
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Clinton Thompson was a diplomat for the Department of State in Southeast Asia during the 1970s and has worked in more than thirty countries worldwide as a refugee advocate and humanitarian aid worker.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps

1 The Fists of Righteous Harmony 3

2 Will Ament in China 17

3 Red-Headed Devils in Peking 29

4 The Semi-Siege 40

5 Admiral See-No-More 51

6 The Empress Dowager 63

7 The Assassination of the Baron 75

8 In the British Legation 83

9 Herbert Hoover and Smedley Butler 96

10 A Tour of the Defenses 106

11 The Tartar Wall 118

12 The Conquest of Tientsin 129

13 The Darkest Days 139

14 Life Under Siege 147

15 Not Massacred Yet 155

16 Marching to Peking 163

17 Rescue 174

18 Ament's Palace 185

19 The Looting of Peking 194

20 Mark Twain and Will Ament 205

American and Canadian Missionaries in the Siege at Peking 221

Bibliography 231

Index 237

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Missionaries and Marines in the Boxer Rebellion

    I've read several books about the Boxer Rebellion. This is probably the most profound. It tells not only an exciting story but it also looks at the moral aspects of the Western invasion of China and the destruction of the Boxers in 1900. The book is attractive and well illustrated and contains many maps plus footnotes and an extensive bibliography and index.

    The principal character of the book is an American missionary, William Scott Ament. Ament was brave to the point of being foolhardy. He is remembered today primarily for the accusations of looting against him made by Mark Twain. This book looks at those accusations and Ament's defense. The author presents the controvery objectively.

    Primarily, however, "William Scott Ament" is an adventure story with a colorful cast of characters, including Herbert Hoover, and American marines such as Smedley Buter and two-time medal of honor winner Daniel J. Daly. The battle scenes are well done. The book is about foreigners in China rather than Chinese, but sufficient background is provided to understand the Chinese government and society of the day.

    The author concludes the book with a judgement on the character and actions of Ament and the Western response to the Boxers and relations with the Chinese. I recommend the book to history buffs, especially those with an interest in China, missionaries, and marines.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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