In this compelling new study, Louise Edwards explores the lives of some of China's most famous women warriors and wartime spies through history. Focusing on key figures including Hua Mulan, Zheng Pingru and Liu Hulan, this book examines the ways in which these extraordinary women have been commemorated through a range of cultural mediums including film, theatre, museums and textbooks. Whether perceived as heroes or anti-heroes, Edwards shows that both the popular and official presentation of these women and their accomplishments has evolved in line with China's shifting political values and circumstances over the past one hundred years. Written in a lively and accessible style with illustrations throughout, this book sheds new light on the relationship between gender and militarisation and the ways that women have been exploited to glamorise war both historically in the past and in China today.
Louise Edwards is Professor of Chinese History and Asian Studies Convener at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She publishes on women and gender in China and Asia. Her most recent sole-authored book is Gender, Politics and Democracy: Women's Suffrage in China (2008). She is also currently President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia.