The Cambridge Illustrated History of China

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There are many more people in the world today who consider themselves Chinese than there are residents of all of Europe and North America combined. How did China as a culture and a state grow to be so large? Why hasn't it broken up like the Roman or Ottoman empires? How has it been possible for a single government to rule so many people? In The Cambridge Illustrated History of China Patricia Ebrey pursues these and other basic questions about the shaping of Chinese civilization. Her scope is phenomenal, embracing all aspects of Chinese arts, culture, economics and society, as well as China's treatment of women, foreign policy, emigrations and politics. However, key emphasis is placed throughout on the major social and cultural developments and on the way in which these wider forces impinged on the lives of ordinary people. Aware that hers is an outsider's interpretation, Professor Ebrey compensates by referring wherever possible to traditional Chinese interpretations of events and developments. Both a comprehensive introduction to this extraordinary civilization, and a detailed exploration of the continuities and disjunctures of Chinese history, this book is essential reading for all those interested in China, its society and culture.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521435192
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/13/1996
  • Series: Illustrated Histories Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.99 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Buckley Ebrey is Professor of History at the University of Washington and the author of multiple books and articles.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 6
Preface 7
Acknowledgements 9
1 The Origins of Chinese Civilization: Neolithic Period to the Western Zhou Dynasty 10
Animal and Human Imagery in Bronze Vessels 36
2 Philosophical Foundations: The Eastern Zhou Period 38
3 The Creation of the Bureaucratic Empire: The Qin and Han Dynasties 60
4 Buddhism, Aristocracy, and Alien Rulers: The Age of Division 86
Early Buddhist Art 106
5 A Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty 108
6 Shifting South: The Song Dynasty 136
Landscape Painting 162
7 Alien Rule: The Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties 164
Drama and the Performing Arts 186
8 The Limits of Autocracy: The Ming Dynasty 190
The Kilns at Jingdezhen 217
9 Manchus and Imperialism: The Qing Dynasty 220
Working for a Living 259
10 Taking Action: The Early Twentieth Century 262
Modern Chinese Painting 292
11 Radical Reunification: The People's Republic 294
Epilogue 333
Chronology 338
Picture Acknowledgements 339
Notes 340
Further Reading 341
Index 346
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Posted December 27, 2012

    striving to include everybody

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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