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Recognized for decades as the West's doyen on China, John King Fairbank here offers the full and final expression of his lifelong engagement with this vast ancient civilization. Fairbank's masterwork is without parallel as a concise, comprehensive, and authoritative account of China and its people. 83 halftones, line drawings and maps.
Manages to tell its sprawling, turbulent, 4,000-year story in a single volume without either losing clarity or oversimplifying its subject...Rich and fascinating.
— Arnold R. Isaacs
Will serve for decades to come as a standard reference and textbook.
— Robert L. Worden
|Introduction : approaches to understanding China's history||1|
|Pt. 1||Rise and decline of the imperial autocracy||27|
|1||Origins : the discoveries of archaeology||29|
|2||The first unification : imperial Confucianism||46|
|3||Reunification in the Buddhist age||72|
|4||China's greatest age : northern and southern song||88|
|5||The paradox of song China and inner Asia||108|
|6||Government in the Ming dynasty||128|
|7||The Qing success story||143|
|Pt. 2||Late imperial China, 1600-1911||163|
|8||The paradox of growth without development||167|
|9||Frontier unrest and the opening of China||187|
|10||Rebellion and restoration||206|
|11||Early modernization and the decline of Qing power||217|
|12||The republican revolution, 1901-1916||235|
|Pt. 3||The Republic of China, 1912-1949||255|
|13||The quest for a Chinese civil society||257|
|14||The nationalist revolution and the Nanjing government||279|
|15||The second coming of the Chinese communist party||294|
|16||China's war of resistance, 1937-1945||312|
|17||The Civil War and the nationalists on Taiwan||331|
|Pt. 4||The People's Republic of China||343|
|18||Establishing control of state and countryside||345|
|19||The great leap forward, 1958-1960||368|
|20||The cultural revolution, 1966-1976||383|
|21||The post-Mao reform era||406|
|Epilogue : China at the close of the century||457|
Posted March 28, 2003
Most fascinating for me in this history of China was the discussion of the recent economic opening that this huge and populous nation has undertaken. The reasons given for why they have been becoming capitalistic, (in fear of becoming like the USSR and to try to modernize their society) were intriguing. I must admit that I had a long prejudice against Chinese politics, as I considered it a state run by thugs. But after reading this book, I realized the long tradition of Confucian thought, and its effects on governance over the history of China. Also interesting was the role the US had in the Nationalist cause at the turn of the last Century. The tragic situation of women in the society, which was not elaborated on very much, but still fascinating and disturbing was also explored. I also enjoyed the stories of the dynasties, although I still don¿t have them all straight in my mind. But I did get a feel for why the dynasties rose and fell, and how they interacted with the rest of the world. The rise of the Communist party in China was very interesting, and I am very curious to see where things go now. The civic traditions and endemic corruptions inherent in the social structure could be seen in their interrelated complexities rising over the millennia as governance of this vast and diverse land was figured out. Mostly this book opened my mind to a society and culture I knew little about, and helped me to begin to appreciate it much more. Compared to the ever-present violence and destruction, religious persecution and conflict, and social disruption and seemingly unending tales of power-drunk warlords conniving to divvy up and consume land and influence that I gleaned reading the history of Europe, the history of China seems almost stable and bconsistent.
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Posted February 8, 2010
I bought this book to help me prepare a lecture on China for my college history class, and it has been very helpful. It is thoroughly researched, well-written, and well-organized. It covers prehistoric China until post-Mao, and is a good book for any history teacher seeking to research Chinese history and prepare a lecture.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2006
I do enjoy this book by Fairbank. It is well written. But for beginners, it could be a difficult read. Also, on the current China affairs, it is very weak. For this, I recommend a new book, China's global reach by a Chinese commentator George Zhibin Gu, which is the best book on China's current affairs I have read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.