The Land and People of China

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers who pass through the pages of this book will come away with a thorough understanding of Chinese society, past and present, for Major glosses over no aspect of his subject. ``China is as much an idea as it is a place,'' he states early on; in his provocative discussion of the facets that comprise Chinese self-identity, readers will be forced to think about the ways in which people of all countries decide who they are and what is important to them. He defines the topology and geography of the land of China, followed by information on ancient culture, the dynasties of the Imperial period, the structure of traditional society, the role of government, China's contributions in science and technology as well as the arts, modern times and daily life. Charts and illustrations break up the nearly 300 pages of text. That this study is comprehensive and fascinating is not in question, but this book is for thoughtful readers, willing to give themselves over entirely to the well-ordered facts. A stellar presentation, not for light reading, but Major's clear style makes it easy for a special few to savor every word. Similar books in the series are on Kenya, France and Afghanistan. Illustrations not seen by PW . Ages 11-up. ( May )
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-- A comprehensive and largely accurate account of Chinese history, philosophy, and government. Science and technology (clearly delineated), art, literature, etc. have short chapters to themselves, and are brought into the larger historical narrative as well. Two concluding paragraphs update recent events through June 4, 1989. The text is interestingly written and conveys both the grand sweep of Chinese history and an amazing amount of minutiae (although the Guangxu Emperor was not the son of the Empress Dowager as Major more than once asserts). There are many boxed inserts for ready reference, a bibliography (with sometimes dubious annotations) that includes non-print media (Peter Wang's 1985 film, A Great Wall, is incredibly mistitled), and a somewhat superfluous addition of ``Suggestions for Further Reading.'' Pinyin romanization is used consistently throughout. Three modern photographs appear in the final chapter, but : many of the others seem dated, and one of the reproductions gives the European rather the Chinese viewpoint. Textually, this is more detailed, interesting, and stylish than McLenighan's People's Republic of China (Childrens, 1984).-- John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780397323364
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1989
  • Series: Portraits of the Nations Ser.
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 11 years

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