The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$26.86
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.54
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 87%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (21) from $3.54   
  • New (8) from $24.96   
  • Used (13) from $3.54   

Overview


This is the first environmental history of China during the three thousand years for which there are written records. It is also a treasure trove of literary, political, aesthetic, scientific, and religious sources, which allow the reader direct access to the views and feelings of the Chinese people toward their environment and their landscape.
Elvin chronicles the spread of the Chinese style of farming that eliminated the habitat of the elephants that populated the country alongside much of its original wildlife; the destruction of most of the forests; the impact of war on the environmental transformation of the landscape; and the re-engineering of the countryside through water-control systems, some of gigantic size. He documents the histories of three contrasting localities within China to show how ecological dynamics defined the lives of the inhabitants. And he shows that China in the eighteenth century, on the eve of the modern era, was probably more environmentally degraded than northwestern Europe around this time.
Indispensable for its new perspective on long-term Chinese history and its explanation of the roots of China’s present-day environmental crisis, this book opens a door into the Chinese past.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300119930
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/21/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 1,458,724
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Mark Elvin is professor of Chinese history at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Author of The Pattern of the Chinese Past and other works, he has taught at Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and Heidelberg, and been a visiting research fellow at Harvard.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Permissions
Conventions
Introductory Remarks
Patterns 1
1 Landmarks and Time-marks 3
2 Humans v. Elephants: The Three Thousand Years War 9
3 The Great Deforestation: An Overview 19
4 The Great Deforestation: Regions and Species 40
5 War and the Logic of Short-term Advantage 86
6 Water and the Costs of System Sustainability 115
Particularities 165
7 Richness to Riches: The Story of Jiaxing 167
8 Chinese Colonialism: Guizhou and the Miao 216
9 The Riddle of Longevity: Why Zunhua? 273
Perceptions 319
10 Nature as Revelation 321
11 Science and Superfauna 369
12 Imperial Dogma and Personal Perspectives 413
Concluding Remarks 454
Notes 472
Bibliography 530
Index 548
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)