Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History (New in Paper)

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Overview

"Wills is very perceptive to take the 'lives and times' approach to Chinese history. Not only does this enliven the material for a beginner, but it is true, as he says, that the Chinese, perhaps more than other people, love to personalize their history."—Perry Link, Princeton University

"It is a great achievement to make the historical figures so accessible, with vivid details that seem to have escaped the attention of earlier historians. In scope, method, and quality, .. . This book is unique."—Kwang-Ching Liu, University of California, Davis

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
[A] spirited and highly intelligent book. . . . A splendid reflection on the nature of the Chinese relationship to history, culture, and morality. . . . What gives Wills's [book] its originality and its effectiveness is the artful span of examples he has chosen, examples that not only range across time . . . but are also chosen to illuminate major themes and continuities within the Chinese universe. . . . There is high drama, cruelty, and excess in many of these stories. . . . And there is also wit and charm mixed with the telling of great events.
— Jonathan Spence
Wilson Library Bulletin
[T]his remarkable book . . . spans the 3,000 recorded years of Chinese history. . . . We experience the wrenching difficulties faced by . . . each emperor, philosopher, poet, historian, monk, military general, and revolutionary whose life story is told here with such skill and compassion. . . . students of history will find themselves clinging to the edge of their seats, as if the outcome were still to be determined.
The Journal of Asian Studies
A tapestry displaying a vast array of noble dreams and failures, of initial utterances and long-distance echoes, of recurrent patterns and abrupt innovations intended to intrigue and inform educated readers looking for a way into three thousand years of Chinese history.
— Jerry Dennerline
Asia Week
This book . . . chronicles 5,000 years of Chinese history in short biographies of its most important figures. . . . Time and again these vignettes of history reflect the moral earnestness of the Chinese and individual struggles between villainy and idealism.
The New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Spence
[A] spirited and highly intelligent book. . . . A splendid reflection on the nature of the Chinese relationship to history, culture, and morality. . . . What gives Wills's [book] its originality and its effectiveness is the artful span of examples he has chosen, examples that not only range across time . . . but are also chosen to illuminate major themes and continuities within the Chinese universe. . . . There is high drama, cruelty, and excess in many of these stories. . . . And there is also wit and charm mixed with the telling of great events.
The Journal of Asian Studies - Jerry Dennerline
A tapestry displaying a vast array of noble dreams and failures, of initial utterances and long-distance echoes, of recurrent patterns and abrupt innovations intended to intrigue and inform educated readers looking for a way into three thousand years of Chinese history.
From the Publisher
"[A] spirited and highly intelligent book. . . . A splendid reflection on the nature of the Chinese relationship to history, culture, and morality. . . . What gives Wills's [book] its originality and its effectiveness is the artful span of examples he has chosen, examples that not only range across time . . . but are also chosen to illuminate major themes and continuities within the Chinese universe. . . . There is high drama, cruelty, and excess in many of these stories. . . . And there is also wit and charm mixed with the telling of great events."—Jonathan Spence, The New York Times Book Review

"[T]his remarkable book . . . spans the 3,000 recorded years of Chinese history. . . . We experience the wrenching difficulties faced by . . . each emperor, philosopher, poet, historian, monk, military general, and revolutionary whose life story is told here with such skill and compassion. . . . students of history will find themselves clinging to the edge of their seats, as if the outcome were still to be determined."—Wilson Library Bulletin

"A tapestry displaying a vast array of noble dreams and failures, of initial utterances and long-distance echoes, of recurrent patterns and abrupt innovations intended to intrigue and inform educated readers looking for a way into three thousand years of Chinese history."—Jerry Dennerline, The Journal of Asian Studies

"This book . . . chronicles 5,000 years of Chinese history in short biographies of its most important figures. . . . Time and again these vignettes of history reflect the moral earnestness of the Chinese and individual struggles between villainy and idealism."—Asia Week

"Although intended for the inspired tourist or casual reader who wants a quick introduction to Chinese history, this collection of biographies is in no way superficial. Each of the 20 chapters offers a figure typical of his/her times and an elaboration of the contexts and backgrounds that shaped these individuals. . . ."—Library Journal

Library Journal
Although intended for the inspired tourist or casual reader who wants a quick introduction to Chinese history, this collection of biographies is in no way superficial. Each of the 20 chapters offers a figure typical of his/her times and an elaboration of the contexts and backgrounds that shaped these individuals to fill in chronological gaps. Wills (history, Univ. of Southern California) starts with Yu, the idealized founder of the Hsia dynasty, and Confucius; proceeds through the seventh-century Empress Wu, who smothered her own infant in order to blame the murder on a rival, and 11th-century poet Su Dongpo; and ends up with the Kuomintang Legacy (Zou Rong, Qiu Jin, and Sun Yat-Sen) and Mao Zedong. The "mountain" of the title seems to be an ancient metaphor for the imperial archives. The philosopher Mencius is lamentably not included among the biographies; nonetheless, this work is recommended for all general collections.-Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691155876
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John E. Wills, Jr., is emeritus professor of history at the University of Southern California. He is the author of "1688: A Global History" and "The World from 1450 to 1700", and the editor of "China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800" and "Past and Present in China's Foreign Policy".

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations IX
Preface XI
Acknowledgments XV
Note on Romanization XVll
A Summary Time Line xix

1. Yu 3
2. Confucius (Kongzt) II
3· The First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shihuang) 33
4· Sima Qian 51
5· WangMang 72
6. Ban Zhao 90
7. Zhuge Liang 100
8. Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch 114
9· Empress Wu 127
10. Su Dongpo 149
11. Yue Fei 168
12. Qiu Chuji, the Daoist 181
13. Wang Yangming 201
14. Zheng Chenggong (Coxinga) 216
15. The Qianlong Emperor 231
16. Hong Xiuquan, the Heavenly King 259
17. Liang Qichao 274
18. The Kuomintang Legacy 301
19. Mao Zedong 335
20. Names in the News 360

Afterword to the 2012 Edition 381
Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading 387
Index 397

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