China: A History

China: A History

3.7 15
by John Keay
     
 

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Many nations define themselves in terms of territory or people; China defines itself in terms of history. Taking into account the country’s unrivaled, voluminous tradition of history writing, John Keay has composed a vital and illuminating overview of the nation’s complex and vivid past. Keay’s authoritative history examines 5,000 years in China,

Overview


Many nations define themselves in terms of territory or people; China defines itself in terms of history. Taking into account the country’s unrivaled, voluminous tradition of history writing, John Keay has composed a vital and illuminating overview of the nation’s complex and vivid past. Keay’s authoritative history examines 5,000 years in China, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country. Crisp, judicious, and engaging, China is the classic single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand the present and future of this immensely powerful nation.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
There are only a handful of English-language books that encapsulate the five millennia of Chinese history in one volume. To date, only John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman's China: A New History, Jacques Gernet's A History of Chinese Civilization, and Patricia Buckley Ebrey's Cambridge Illustrated History of China come close to Keay's concise précis of the imperial dynasties, influential characters, and major turning points of Chinese history. Without sacrificing substance for brevity, Keay manages to illustrate China's history very much as a narrative of the rise and fall of strong and feeble emperors, bureaucratic cliques and factionalism, the development of philosophical traditions and religious incarnations, and the constant restructuring of the empire's geographical boundaries. A journalist by trade, Keay is well experienced in scripting historical tomes, with India: A History being most comparable in scale and ambition to this latest work. VERDICT Readers already interested in, or wishing newly to embark upon, Chinese history will adore this book. Highly recommended.—Allan Cho, Univ. of British Columbia Lib., Vancouver
From the Publisher

Library Journal
“Without sacrificing substance for brevity, Keay manages to illustrate China’s history very much as a narrative... Readers already interested in, or wishing newly to embark upon, Chinese history will adore this book. Highly recommended.”

Philadelphia Inquirer
China: A History marks a welcome advance… [Keay’s] touch is deft and faithful to the tenor of the debates, especially those between archaeologists and literary scholars.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007372089
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/15/2010
Sold by:
HarperCollins Publishers
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
119,444
File size:
6 MB

Meet the Author

John Keay is the author of four acclaimed histories: 'The Honourable Company', 'Last Post', about the imperial disengagement of the Far East; the two-volume 'Explorers of the Western Himalayas' and 'India: A History'. His books on India include 'India Discovered', 'Into India' and 'The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named'. John Keay is married with four children, lives in Scotland and is co-editor with Julia Keay of the 'Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland'.

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China 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful summary of Chinese history with a lot of material all in one place. The writing style is simple and readable, and the book is well researched. In terms of scholarship, this book is probably better than his better known book on India. Highly recommended.
Chris__C More than 1 year ago
A book that conveys tremendous enthusiasm for China but written with a clear appraising eye and well informed by wide reading and reflection. Keay contests many of the traditional textbook notions of Chinese history: that there is a more or less unbroken strand of national statehood and that at some deep level there have always been centralizing ideas that make regionalism a marginal force. Keay brings out the huge range of regional influences and forces and calls into question the very idea of a Chinese statehood apart from a few somewhat artificial impositions. At the same time with a wealth of detail he shows how much cultural continuity has meant to China. China, he seems to indicate, is a state of mind more than a state or a place. The book's strength is in conveying the ideas and outlooks that make up this state of mind. He recognizes that his approach goes against much thinking inside and some outside of China. It has certainly spiced up this reader's thinking about China, and made it seem even more fascinating and attractive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most straight forward work on the sum of Chinese history in one book in English I have ever come across. It is not all inclusive, but it admits as much. A must read for anyone who is interested in Chinese history, especially if you don't know where to begin. This is the book to start with.
tomc702 More than 1 year ago
as we get older we value good quality writing; this is a textbook on china. completely thorough, completely unboring. i don't know why textbooks get such a bad rap! this is an increadibly long book at first blush - but you will end up wishing it was part of a multi-volume set. china is in the headlines; take the time to read this book and understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the information in this book is useful, the overuse of metaphors and confusing sarcasm makes it very difficult to read the book for more than five minutes at a time. If you are reading to improve your writing or general knowledge, choose another book where you will not be forced to wade through useless metaphors and possible sarcasm that make identifying actual content nearly impossible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Let's go to your place." I smile shyly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ready? Gavin
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wants to live a life not talking to complete strangers and wants to meet real people...