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A common misconception holds that Marco Polo "opened up" a closed and recalcitrant "Orient" to the West. However, this sweeping history covering 4,000 years of international relations from the perspective of China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia shows that the region's extensive involvement in world affairs began thousands of years ago.
In a time when the writing of history is increasingly specialized, Warren I. Cohen has made a bold move against the grain. In broad but revealing brushstrokes, he paints a huge canvas of East Asia's place in world affairs throughout four millennia. Just as Cohen thinks broadly across time, so too, he defines the boundaries of East Asia liberally, looking beyond China, Japan, and Korea to include Southeast Asia. In addition, Cohen stretches the scope of international relations beyond its usual limitations to consider the vital role of cultural and economic exchanges.
Within this vast framework, Cohen explores the system of Chinese domination in the ancient world, the exchanges between East Asia and the Islamic world from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and the emergence of a European-defined international system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The book covers the new imperialism of the 1890s, the Manchurian crisis of the early 1930s, the ascendancy of Japan, the trials of World War II, the drama of the Cold War, and the fleeting "Asian Century" from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s.
East Asia at the Center is replete with often-overlooked or little-known facts, such as:
• A record of persistent Chinese imperialism in the region
• Tibet's status as a major power from the 7th to the 9th centuries C.E., when it frequently invaded China and decimated Chinese armies
• Japan's profound dependence on Korea for its early cultural development
• The enormous influence of Indian cuisine on that of China
• Egyptian and Ottoman military aid to their Muslim brethren in India and Sumatra against European powers
• Extensive Chinese sea voyages to Arabia and East Africa—long before such famous Westerners as Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus took to the seas
East Asia at the Center's expansive historical view puts the trials and advances of the past four millennia into perspective, showing that East Asia has often been preeminent on the world stage—and conjecturing that it might be so again in the not-so-distant future.
Columbia University Press
— Andrea Campana
— James H. Bready
— Lewis Bernstein
Preface1. The Emergence of an International System in East AsiaIn the beginning there was ChinaOther rooms, other voicesEmpire of the Han, challenge of the XiongnuThe diffusion of powerChinaKoreaJapanSoutheast AsiaConclusion2. Shadows over Tang SplendorThe SuiThe Years of Tang AscendanceKorea, Japan, and Southeast Asia3. East Asia UncenteredLate TangThe Tibetan FactorThe demise of the Tang DynastyNortheast AsiaSoutheast AsiaThe Song reunify ChinaKoryoJapanSoutheast Asia in TurmoilConclusion4. The Mongol AscendancyChinggis Khan and his sonsKhubilai Khan and the ChineseAsian Resistance to Khubilai as Universal RulerThe last days of the YuanConclusion5. The Resurgence of Chinese Power and the Coming of IslamRise of the MingKoreans, Japanese, and Ryukyu IslandersSoutheast Asia and the spread of IslamMing China on the eve of the Portuguese intrusionConclusion6. Europe and Japan Disrupt the East Asian International OrderArrival of the PortugueseThe Ming under SiegeThe Rise of Japanese PowerOther Europeans: The Arrival of the Dutch and the EnglishSoutheast Asia: Magnet for the WestLast Days of the MingConclusion7. The Great Qing EmpireRebuilding of the "Chinese" empireJapan and KoreaSoutheast Asia in fluxApproach of the British empireConclusion8. Triumph of the WestThe British are comingThe Yanks are comingFrance's quest for gloryRussia as a Pacific powerAnd then there were the DutchConclusion9. The Ascendance of JapanRestoration and self-strengthening in ChinaThe Meiji RestorationJapan ascendantThe United States as an East Asian PowerThe Boxer WarIn the light of the Rising SunConclusion10. Challenge to the WestDevelopment of the Japanese empireThe Rise of Chinese nationalismNationalism elsewhere in East AsiaWashington and Moscow look to East AsiaNationalist revolution in ChinaCrisis in Manchuria11. War and Decolonization, 1932-1949In the beginning it was ManchuriaChina imperiledWar comes to AsiaJapan's Greater East Asia Co-prosperity SphereThe war ends in East AsiaDecolonization in Southeast AsiaConclusion12. The Cold War in AsiaThe occupation of JapanRevolution in ChinaWar in KoreaSoutheast Asia and the Cold WarChina, Taiwan, and the United StatesConclusion13. The Resurgence of East Asian Economic PowerJapan as # 1Little DragonsSoutheast AsiaChina joins the world market economyThe Japan that can say noConclusion14. On the Eve of the 21st CenturyDisaster at TiananmenDemocracy comes to TaiwanThe Korean peninsula: democracy and nuclear weaponsRed star over Hong KongCrisis in Southeast AsiaConclusionClosing ThoughtsFurther ReadingIndex
Columbia University Press
Posted October 24, 2010
No text was provided for this review.