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A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations 2nd Edition

19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0155055698
ISBN-10: 0155055690
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Editorial Reviews


I. The Classical Civilization of China 1. "China" in Antiquity 2. Turbulent Times and Classical Thought 3. The Early Imperial Period The Qin The Han II. China and Japan in a Buddhist Age 4. China during the Period of Disunity 5. The Cosmopolitan Civilization of the Sui and Tang: 581-907 6. Early Japan to 794 Prehistory The Emergency of the Japanese State and Elite Culture 7. Heian Japan III. A New and Crucial Phase 8. China during the Song: 960-1279 9. The Mongol Empire and The Yuan Dynasty 10. The Ming Dynasty: 1368-1644 11. The Kamakura Period in Japan 12. Muromachi Japan 13. East Asia and Modern Europe: First Encounters IV. Last Dynasties 14. Tokugawa: Background, Establishment, and Middle Years The Legacy of War Unification and Consolidation (1573-1651) The Tokugawa Political Consolidation (1600-1653) The Middle Years (1653-1787) 15. The Qing Dynasty V. China and Japan in the Modern World 16. China: The Troubled Nineteenth Century The Opium War and Taiping Rebellion 1870-1894 Foreign Relations 17. Japan: Endings and Beginnings: From Tokugawa to Meiji, 1787-1873 Late Tokugawa The Meiji Restoration 18. The Emergence of Modern Japan: 1874-1894 19. China: Endings and Beginnings, 1894-1927 The Last Years of the Last Dynasty From Yuan Shikai to Chiang Kai-shek 20. Imperial Japan: 1895-1931 Late Meiji (1895-1912) The Taisho Period (1912-1926) and the 1920s 21. The 1930s and World War II VI. East Asia Since World War II 22. The Aftermath of the War and Unfinished Business Toward a New Order in China and Japan Unfinished Business: Korea and Vietnam 23. China under Mao Consolidation and Construction Soviet Style, 1949-1958 The Revolution Continued, 1958-1976 24. The Chinese World Since Mao 25. The New Japan The New Japan (1952-1989) Society, Thought, and the Arts From 1989 into the New Century Afterword International Tensions Economic Globalization Contending Trends Cultural Globalization --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Conrad Schirokauer, Senior Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and Professor Emeritus at the City University of New York, received his doctorate from Stanford. He has studied in Paris and conducted research in Japan and China. His published papers and articles deal mostly with Song intellectual history. He is co-editor, with Robert Hymes, of ORDERING THE WORLD: APPROACHES TO STATE AND SOCIETY IN SUNG DYNASTY CHINA (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). His current research is on Song perceptions of and attitudes toward history. Schirokauer was associated with a New York University summer graduate program for teachers in Japan and China and remains interested in how history is taught and written. As a textbook author, he has published A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINESE AND JAPANESE CIVILIZATIONS (Second Edition 1989), with separate volumes on China (1990) and Japan (1993), all now available from Wadsworth. Also worth mention, is his translation of CHINA'S EXAMINATION HELL by Miyazaki Ichisada (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976,1981), which he recommends to any student who feels burdened by examinations.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 2 edition (December 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0155055690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0155055698
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,579,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Geo. J. Leonard on December 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am Prof. of Interdisciplinary Humanities at San Francisco State and this has been classroom book of choice. Perhaps book's title should have been "a CULTURAL history of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations." A good 1/3 to 1/2 of each chapter is art, architecture, religion. For instance, "Tokugawa Japan," after four history sections, includes sections on "The Japanese Print... The Popular Theater: Kabuki and Bunraku... Popular Prose Literature... Haiku... Art and Lit after Genroku... Intellectual currents...." Pages are studded with apt illustrations. Undergrads liked though thought it pricey, but it replaced history and art books both.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By RaceBannonPhD on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a professor of Asian History, I have found that this text is invaluable as a learning tool for hundreds of students. It thoroughly grounds the reader in the history of Asia. Schirokauer uses narrative and analytical thinking to present Asian History in an accessible and digestible format. The book offers an essential body of information about a massive geographic area that is as diverse as it is fascinating. Each section thoroughly reviews key historical trends in a style that is interesting and a genuine good read.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By George L. Dziuk III on March 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was specifically recommened to me by a Professor at the University of Texas as a fantastic "starter" on Chinese history. A fantastic read, this college text introduces the reader to Asian civilization in a way that provides information on both the history of Japan and China, as well as a very in-depth look at the cultures which grew out of this history. As Dr. Shirokauer clearly states in his introduction, this book serves as a survey in order to give the reader a general idea on the key aspects (both historically and culturally) of both the Japenese and Chinese civilizations. Weighing in at around 650 pages, this book is a massive undertaking in historical scholarship and provides a fantastic opportunity for the reader to gain a full understanding of Asia, while still leaving the reader thirsty for more at the end. Luckily, a thorough explanations of sources and a very large additional reading section provide avenues for those interested in Asian history to pursue specific topics.

For China, this story focuses around the various dynasties which ruled that country for so long. Beginning with the most early archealogical findings available for China and continuining through the Zhou, Song, Tang, Ming, etc... For Japan, the focus centers around the central administration of Kyoto until the creation of the Shogun and the rise in prominence of Edo (located at present-day Tokyo).

One aspect of this work which so distinguishes it from other college texts on these civilizations is it's focus on the cultural aspects of these two civilizations. The author covers the evolution of art in all forms, everyday living, architecture, and religion in as detailed a fashion as he explains their history.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Catherine K. on October 6, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a college student majoring in East Asian Studies. This book is required for the intro course, and I hate it. Even ignoring the folly of trying to teach two of the world's oldest civilizations in one slim volume, I still can't recommend this title. It's poorly written (the number of typos and grammatical mistakes are atrocious, especially for a 3rd edition) and the tone is too "dumbed-down" for my taste. Worst of all, the writers did a terrible job in selecting what should be included in a one-volume history of China and Japan. They jump around from topic to topic in an attempt to cover as much material as possible, but they end up sounding indecisive. At the same time, too much of the book is focused on historical anecdotes and art of the period- which is interesting, but not appropriate to a one-volume history of two vast civilizations. The book might succeed if the prose could be polished and better material selected. As of now, I hate having to read something that reads like a long report slapped together by a couple high school kids. I can't wait to sell this back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Cabrera on October 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was absolutely atrocious. It was poorly written and didn't touch on one idea long enough for the reader to get a clear idea of what the author was attempting to get across. I understand that it is a "brief introduction" but that is no reason to be sketchy and incomprehensible on the majority of the subject matter presented in the text. At certain points I had to re-read some paragraphs because I felt like they were written in Haiku or some form of code. From my viewpoint it was like the author was attempting to tackle to many subjects at once, and because of this, wasn't able to expand fully enough on any of them. I also agree with the previous comments, there were multiple grammar errors and spelling issues that shouldn't have been present in a 3rd edition.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shira on February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
The third edition of "A brief history of Chinese and Japanese civilizations" is, beyond doubt, one of the worst textbooks I have had the misfortune of having to use. The only good thing I can say about this book is that it does cover, more-or-less accurately, the general history of China and Japan (the only reason I can give this text 2 stars). Though it, technically, fulfills its goals, this text is atrocious. Aside from frequent grammatical mistakes, the book is poorly written in the extreme. The book is difficult, at best, to get through, with frequently incomplete thoughts and ideas, and bizarrely contrasting vocabulary. There are also several spots where, as you read along, you turn a page and the next page repeats the last several lines, or, even, continues in the middle of an entirely different sentence of an entirely separate idea. No joke.

To be fair, there are many nice pictures.

If you are a professor looking for a class textbook I strongly encourage you to find something else. If you are a student getting a required book, I pity you.
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