Emperor K’ang-hsi ruled China from 1661 to 1722 and his reign is captured by
Jonathan D. Spence’s book Emperor of China. The different chapters of the book deal
with certain aspects of the Emperors life. Aspects that the history books to normally deal
with. The information in Spence’s book is based on Emperor K’ang-hsi’s
correspondence, his own writings. This writing maybe biased towards himself, but no
other piece of information could provide insight into his mind. The book is divided into
six parts; In motion, Ruling, Thinking, Growing Old, Sons, Valedictory. The book
follows Emperor K’ang-hsi’s life as Emperor in chronological order.
In the first part, “In Motion," the main emphasis was on Emperor K’ang-hsi travels
though his kingdom. He wrote a letter to Ku Wen-hsing stating that he had traveled
1000’s of miles in each direction. He had traveled to the provinces of Shansi and Shensi in
the west, to the pr...