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List of Illustrations xiii
List of Maps and Diagrams xvii
Rewriting the past 1
Cradle, core and beyond 10
The dynastic dynamic 15
The triumph of Pinyin 17
A matter of scale 20
1 Rites To Writing, Pre c. 1050 BC
The Great Beginning 25
Glint of bronze 31
Finding family 38
In the oracular 42
2 Sages and Heroes, c. 1050-c. 250 BC
Footprints of Zhou 50
Less spring than autumn 60
The Confucian conveyance 66
Warring states and statist wars 71
3 The First Empire, c. 250-210 BC
Stone Cattle Road 80
Qin's cultural revolution 88
Crumbling wall, hidden tomb 97
4 Han Ascendant, 210-141 BC
Qin implodes 106
Pawn to king 111
Jaded monarchs 118
5 Within and Beyond, 141 BC-AD 1
Han and Hun 128
Explorer Zhang and the Western Regions 135
Administering an empire 143
Confucian fundamentalism 151
6 Wang Mang and the Han Reprise, AD 1-189
A one-man dynasty 156
Across the watershed 164
Decline and fall 174
7 Four Hundred Years of Vicissitude, 189-550
Three Kingdoms and the Red Cliffs 184
Dao and the Celestial Masters 192
Enter the Enlightened One 198
Into the abyss 203
Luoyang again 210
8 Sui, Tang and the Second Empire, 550-650
Intercalary conjunction 216
Sons of the sunset and the sunrise 233
Beyond the Jade Gate 239
9 High Tang, 650-755
Wanton, not wayward 246
The greatest power in Asia 259
Like a breath of spring 267
A turning point 273
10 Reconfiguring the Empire, 755-1005
Low Tang 279
Five Dynasties or Ten Kingdoms 290
Song and Liao 300
11 Caving In, 1005-1235
The Great State of White and High 308
Reform and reappraisal 314
In Singing-girl Towers 321
Jin and Song 327
12 By Land and Sea, 1235-1405
Sunset of the Song 341
Mongol reunification 350
Mongol misadventures 361
Triumph of the Ming 369
13 The Rites of Ming, 1405-1620
From the edge of the sky to the ends of the earth 376
Misadventures and misfortunes 386
The Great Rites Controversy 393
Landmarks and inroads 402
14 The Manchu Conquest, 1620-1760
Overwhelming Ming 410
From Jurchen to Manchu 420
Much in demand 431
Zungharia, Xinjiang and Tibet 437
15 Death Throes of Empire, 1760-1880
Self-evident truths 446
Insults and opium 455
Taiping and Tianjin 467
16 Republicans and Nationalists, 1880-1950
Brush to pen 48o
From empire to republic 490
War and more war 499
Long March, long war 507
Posted January 1, 2011
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.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2013
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.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 6, 2010
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.
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2013
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.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2010
I Also Recommend:
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.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2014
Posted April 12, 2014
"TO WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE(A deep inhales happens and I can't finish...) " I take your hand and walk back..."
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Posted July 15, 2013
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Posted April 12, 2015
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Posted November 11, 2013
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