From the Publisher
"Specialists will find useful data collected here."
"Overall, this is a strong reference tool for students new to modern Chinese military history. Recommended."
"Reasonably priced, this one-volume reference work is a welcome addition to the history of warfare and China."
Whether China's military history spans 4500 years as the book claims in one spot or 2500 years as mentioned in another, almost two-thirds of these 249 entries—e.g., "American Volunteer Group (1941–1942)," "Li Xiannian (1909–1992)," "Tiananmen Square Events (April-June 1989)"—reflects a 20th-century focus. Li (history & geography, Univ. of Central Oklahoma; Civil Liberties in China) and 58 contributors do not limit themselves to military history, offering many entries on places and dynasties. Unfortunately, they often fail to address their core subject. The article on the Terracotta army offers no insight into its military-historical significance, for instance. Li's 16-page introduction, which spans the Wudi period to the present, is filled with facts but short on analysis. Readers will likely want to know why the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) lost the civil war—a description of troop movements in the overview does not supply an answer. While the dedicated entry "Chinese Civil War" provides more detail, it offers little explanation (and "civil war" in the index does not reference this entry). Only a sentence in the GMD article cites reasons for the party's collapse. Furthermore, no entry explains China's 21st-century nuclear program; "Nuclear Program" concludes by quoting, without further comment, China's wish for universal nuclear disarmament. The brief entry "Western Views of Chinese Warfare" is unfortunately not balanced by a companion article on Chinese views of their own warfare There are no cross-references, and while See also and further-reading references follow each entry, these are sometimes incomplete. The selected bibliography contains only English-language print sources. A brief glossary, a 13-page chronology, a list of dynasties and governments, and occasional sepia photos are included. In headings and on first appearances, though not in the index, Wade-Giles versions of names follow the pinyin versions. VERDICT Specialists will find useful data collected here, but the dearth of analysis severely limits this resource's value for research. Recommended only for the most comprehensive collections.—Patricia Lothrop, St. George's Sch., Newport, RI