The Dynasties of China

The Dynasties of China

A History

Book - 2003
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Shang, Chou, Han, T'ang, Sung, Yuan, Ming, Ch'ing -- for most Westerners, they stand only as adjectives to describe a lacquer, a bronze, a silk, a watercolor. And for all the familiarity a blue and white porcelain vase from the Ming dynasty or the bright and sturdy pottery figures of horses and grooms from the T'ang may now have acquired, the history of the civilization that produced them remains obscure. So do the names of the potters and artists and philosophers and emperors and generals -- except perhaps for those of Kublai Khan, who was not Chinese, and K'ung Fu Tzu -- known as Confucius -- who flourished a century before Socrates. Focusing upon the incidents and personalities that epitomize most vividly each of the dynasties, this lucidly narrated volume, beautifully illustrated by a lavish selection of color photographs, places in their historical context the images that came to define imperial China from its origins in 1600 B.C. to the revolution of Sun Yat-sen in October 1911. It provides a background to China's turbulent twentieth century, which is surveyed in an informative postscript, highlighting such events as the troubled presidency of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tse-tung's ruthless Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 student protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf, 2003.
Edition: Rev. ed.
ISBN: 9780786712199
Branch Call Number: 951 GAS 2003
Characteristics: xii, 228 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.), map


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Apr 04, 2016

If you're looking for anything really detailed about the actual rulers of China, this would seriously disappoint you. This book only really focuses on the culturally significant people or events of each dynasty, however it normally only points to one person. If you're also looking for any information for the times in between dynasties, this would also disappoint with the exception of the Warring States period because of Confucius. Nothing on the Three Kingdoms period which is also culturally/politically significant but is only mentioned in one sentence in the entire book.

That said, this is an excellent book to read if you have absolutely no knowledge of Chinese history, but if you already know the basics, this book is not really great to read. There are some interesting facts here and there if you are well-versed, but otherwise, I'd only recommend this to people with minimal knowledge of Chinese history.

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