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China to 1850: A Short History Paperback – June 1, 1978

ISBN-13: 978-0804709583 ISBN-10: 0804709580 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804709580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804709583
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,154,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Charles Hucker has written a balanced, precise, and concise overview of China's evolution until about 1850."—Asian Forum

"A concise overview of Imperial China—a good place to begin . . . recommended."—Focus on Asian Studies

"A simplified history of the Chinese and their culture from prehistory to about 1850. The book, which draws heavily from Hucker's China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Thought, presents a straightforward chronological treatment. . . . This is an excellent introductory text for high school students beginning to study Chinese history."—Kliatt

"Charles O. Hucker's China to 1850, a contracted and condensed version of his highly extolled China's Imperial Past, is a solid, precise, scholarly work. It would probably best suit the general reader who wants a glance at China's past. To

From the Inside Flap

By the author of the highly acclaimed China’s Imperial Past

and written in the same lively style, this is a distillation of what every general reader and beginning student should know about the history of traditional Chinese civilization. It weaves together chronologically all aspects of Chinese life and culture, broadly surveying general history, socioeconomic organization, political institutions, religion and thought, and art and literature.
The author explains how the Chinese empire emerged in antiquity, how it flourished and declined in successive cycles for thousands of years, and how in the end it found itself unprepared for both the domestic and the external challenges of the modern era. The result is a concise overview that is both absorbing in itself and basic to a more detailed study of China’s long and complex evolution.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colin McLarty on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastically valuable work for anyone who cannot, for example, name the 15 chief dynasties in Chinese history. It is a quick engaging survey if that is all you want -- and if like me you want a real grasp of Chinese history then this book is an invaluable companion to substantial histories. I keep coming back to this for the overall picture. Some day I will outgrow it, perhaps, but not soon.

The introductory chapter on "the land and people" includes a fine brief account of the language and writing system. This serves to overcome some quaint western prejudices on China, and is very helpful in understanding how the Chinese have seen their past. Classical Chinese was much closer to modern Mandarin than ancient Egyptian or even Latin are to English -- but especially in its written form is it decisively not the modern language. Social patterns that have been relatively stable for thousands of years are described along with the many changes to them.

The history describes migrations and political and military campaigns along with philosophic ideas inseparable from politics. It describes trends in art -- and their practical role in spreading culture and industry. And this is from roughly 2000 BC to 1850 CE.

The key, of course, is that this book is short. Very short. If you just need a quick survey this will do it. And if you want more, this quick survey is an invaluable outline.
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China to 1850: A Short History
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