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More populous than any other country on earth, China also occupies a unique place in our modern world for the continuity of its history and culture. In this sumptuously illustrated single-volume history, now in its second edition, noted historian Patricia Buckley Ebrey traces the origins of Chinese culture from prehistoric times to the present. She follows its development from the rise of Confucianism, Buddhism, and the great imperial dynasties to the Mongol, Manchu, and Western intrusions and the modern communist state. Her scope is phenomenal – embracing Chinese arts, culture, economics, society and its treatment of women, foreign policy, emigration, and politics, including the key uprisings of 1919 and 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Both a comprehensive introduction to an extraordinary civilization and an expert exploration of the continuities and disjunctures of Chinese history, Professor Ebrey’s book has become an indispensable guide to China past and present. This second edition includes a new chapter on China’s recent opening to the world and a fully revised guide to further reading.
"Patricia Ebrey's Illustrated History of China is a fine book....With great economy of text, it outlines the major elements and changes in four millennia of Chinese history and social life; the art work and photographs, skillfully chosen and admirably reproduced, both illuminate the text and supplement it." Jonathan Spence, Yale University
"Of all the general histories of China written to date, this book is among the most comprehensive, objective, and well-balanced, and it will surely be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of teachers, students, and anyone else interested in understanding the broader evolution of Chinese civilization." China Review International
"...Patricia Buckley Ebrey masterfully synthesizes more than four thousand years of Chinese history in a single volume....The Cambridge Illustrated History of China provides an excellent introduction to the study of China and Chinese civilization. It offers a straightforward, yet complex account of historical events and issues that is well supported and augmented by the supplementary special-topic sections and illustrations....In the foreword, Kwang-Ching Liu expresses his belief that this book will eventually be regarded as a classic....Professor Liu's confidence in this matter certainly seems justified." China Review International
Foreword; Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. The origins of Chinese civilization: Neolithic period to the Western Zhou dynasty (animal and human imagery in bronze vessels); 2. Philosophical foundations: the Eastern Zhou period; 3. The creation of the bureaucratic empire: the Qin and Han dynasties; 4. Buddhism, aristocracy, and alien rulers: the age of division (early Buddhist art); 5. A cosmopolitan empire: the Tang dynasty; 6. Shifting south: the Song dynasty (landscape painting); 7. Alien rule: the Liao, Jin, and Yuan dynasties (drama and the performing arts); 8. The limits of autocracy: the Ming dynasty (the kilns at Jingdezhen); 9. Manchus and imperialism: the Qing dynasty (working for a living); 10. Taking action: the early twentieth century (modern Chinese painting); 11. Radical reunification: the People's Republic (the cult of Mao); 12. Opening to the world: China since 1976 (Tibet); Epilogue; Chronology.
Ebrey is always sensitive to the implications of events for ordinary people and for women. She constructs her history like a vast collage of voices, and strives to include every sort of person in the tale. Her narrative features numerous sidebars offering fascinating sub-plots, on topics like Tang-era love stories, house construction, The Biographies of Heroic Women by Liu Xiang (79-8 BC), codes of crime and punishment, legendary demons, village fairs, popular dramas such as Injustice to Dou E, modern painting, or the life of feminist writer Ding Ling (1904-85). Almost every page is quietly entertaining.
--author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
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