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1587, A Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline 8.11.1982 Edition
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Para2: Huang's approach is is reminiscent of Kurosawa's in Roshomon, employing multiple points of view from the imperial court in seeking to expose and foreshadow the demise of the Ming. We meet archetypes from the drama of Chinese history: the Machiavellian chief minister, the perceptive but disregarded general, the anguished philosopher, and, at the story's center, the eccentric Wan-li emperor himself. In choosing to write about Wan-li, Huang is able to create a measure of narrative tension unusual in Chinese historical writing, because by the Year of the Pig, 1587, the emperor has ceased to fulfill his prescribed role in rite and ritual as the embodiment of moral order. Wan-li's behavior causes great agitation among his courtiers, bureaucrats, retainers, imperial wives and concubines, eunuchs, and slaves, each of whom occupies a carefully defined place in the regimented life inside the walls of the Imperial Compound and who, without punctilious observances by the emperor, is without a fixed point of reference.
Para3: A special feature of this book is the wonderful chapter on the incorruptible censor Hai Rui, who dared impeach the Emperor.Read more ›
The Ming imperial system also placed a greater value on the institution and sought to dehumanize the emperor. The emperor was the emperor--he was not Wanli, not Jiajing, etc. The bureaucrats and officials--whose power was constrained individually--exercised great power as a group, effectively dictating how the emperor should act, behave, and present himself to the public.Read more ›
In this book, Dr. Ray Huang showed the readers the picture of the Chinese people's life around the year 1587: from the emperor's depression caused by lacking of freedom due to the structure of China's politics, to officers' rise and fall, to the common people's mundane life. As the big picture rolling out little by little, the logic behind China's history was clearer and clearer. There was a fatal problem in Chinese politics: the politic structure was premature but the administrative methods to support the structure never grew up and never based on sensible mathematics. Technologies were never paid enough attention to. When the population and economic developed and developed, the naive administrative methods could not sustain the whole economic system any more. However, any technical innovation for supporting the economic grow was hardly allowed due to moral or philosophical tradition. Some officers had been very smart, the emperor had been very ambitious, the Chinese people had been very diligent. However due to many problems, these individual efforts never really worked out to save the dynasty from declining. Dr. Huang saw these problems based on his decades of research on Ming Dynasty's taxing system. In this book he showed the readers how these problem impacted all aspects of life of the people from different classes.
Dr. Huang's research method is scientific and the conclusion is convincing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For History buffs only and especially for Chinese History buffsPublished 3 days ago by Lenny C. Husen
Brings alive the court machinations of the Ming dynasty in the Wan Li years.Published 10 months ago by Richard
Clean, clear and to the point, Ray Huang provides an extraordinary examination of one of those "turning point" or "watershed" years we tend to recognize only in... Read morePublished on April 22, 2014 by Bruce W Sims
Non-fiction book lovers have gotten used to it: the odd-but-clever title designed to catch the attention of prospective buyers. Read morePublished on April 19, 2014 by Frank Bellizzi
I love this!! The price is appropriate and i have been using this for a while, it works very well!!Published on February 1, 2014 by XU MENG
I have long been a student of Chinese history. When I first read this book many years ago, I was stunned and dazzled by its subtle and lasting impact on me. Read morePublished on March 25, 2012 by Peter T. Wolf
I'm reminded of the last, magnificent quote of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez's novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude:"
[Aureliano] had already understood that he would never... Read more