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|Map of Imperial China||10|
|The Early Empires: 221 BC-AD 220||14|
|Confusion, Reunification and the Golden Age: AD 220-907||60|
|Chaos, Diplomacy and Invasion: AD 907-1368||118|
|Revival and Collapse: AD 1368-1911||158|
|Illustration and Text Credits||219|
Posted December 30, 2009
Chinese dynastic history has long been considered to be nearly impenetrable even by serious historians who have devoted life long commitments to it. How then, can the average interested passerby, with perhaps just a feeling for ancient China, learn more about it without first having to read enough for a doctoral thesis?
Well, Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors, is a good place to start. In short, one to two page snippets, in nearly chronological order for the entire 157 emperor list (starting with Qin Shi Huang Di, the first emperor of China, through Pu Yi, the last emperor) the book provides essential details for each as individuals and describes the major events of their respective reigns. It is a simple but generously illustrated guide, providing a good overall sense of perspective for the wide breadth of what was Chinese imperial history. Historically important names, dates and places are noted, which readers can then use to springboard into further personal research should one's interest become piqued.
Imperial personalities are grouped into chapters according to dynastic period, and illustrated with representative artwork. Each chapter is also accompanied by a visual time line, and imperial names are listed in both English and Chinese text.
By no means exhaustive, it nonetheless remains an excellent beginning for those that want to sample ancient Chinese imperial history without fear of being overwhelmed by its sheer scope and magnitude.