William Scott Ament and the Boxer Rebellion

Heroism, Hubris and the “Ideal Missionary”


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About the Book

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(s)

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.

Bibliographic Details

Larry Clinton Thompson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4008-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5338-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Maps      ix

Prologue      1

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

Epilogue      215

American and Canadian Missionaries in the Siege at Peking      221

Chapter Notes      223

Bibliography      231

Index      237