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Harmony and War: Confucian Culture and Chinese Power Politics (Contemporary Asia in the World) Hardcover – December 15, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


a necessary read for those concerned with the issue of cultural versus strategic realism and Chinese strategic culture....highly recommended.


Wang's book provides an accessible, historically well-informed and methodologicallywell-constructed account of an important phenomenon of Chinese history.

(Aleksandra Kubat China Quarterly)

...a must-read for those who are interested in Chinese power politics and strategic culture.

(Julia Dinh T.H.L. Asian Politics and Policy)

Yuan-kang Wang's Harmony and War is the most important and well-conceived application of structural realist theory to Chinese foreign policy (past and present) to date.

(Gregory J. Moore Journal of Chinese Political Science)


Yuan-kang Wang offers a powerful test of strategic culture versus structural realism in the contexts of Song and Ming China, meticulously weaving together international relations theories and Chinese history. The result is a must read for any student of international relations and Chinese foreign policy.

(Victoria Tin-bor Hui, University of Notre Dame)

Harmony and War does an excellent job of using Chinese history, especially Song and Ming Dynasty documents, to measure the affect of structural realism on Chinese foreign policy. An important book—along the lines of Iain Johnston's Cultural Realism.

(Warren I. Cohen, University of Maryland)

Yuan-kang Wang's theoretically informed and historically rich study of Chinese strategic behavior is a major contribution to answering one of the central questions of the twenty-first century: How might China's growing strength shape its role on the world stage? Wang boldly challenges explanations that emphasize the distinctiveness of China's traditional culture as the source of its international behavior. His book is sure to encourage important and necessary debates about the adequacy of our beliefs about China as a great power, both during its Imperial past and its current renaissance.

(Avery Goldstein, University of Pennsylvania)

China assures its neighbors that its rise will be peaceful, in part because Chinese have a cultural allergy to aggression. Those who would like to take such promises seriously should read Harmony and War, Yuan-kang Wang's outstanding account of Chinese national security strategy in the Song and Ming dynasties. He finds that it was the degree of external danger and not Confucian culture that motivated Imperial leaders, and that they pursued harmony when China was relatively weak but engaged in war when it was stronger. There may be a contemporary lesson lurking in there.

(Richard C. Bush, director, Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution)

Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Asia in the World
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231151403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231151405
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,246,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book about politics and history of China. The author provides solid information to prove the realpolitik of China.
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