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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Concise Overview of Chinese History, May 8, 2006
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This review is from: China: Its History and Culture (4th Edition) (Paperback)
With such a huge subject, this book makes easy work of approaching the dynasties and intellectual movements without fear of overload. In roughly 350 pages, the authors take the reader from Zhou to Zemin with a minimum of effort and confusion. For those who think China has no exciting movements and tales, think again. the most indelible impression on the Chinese nation was made by a single 15-yr dynasty (the Qin Dynasty, for which the westernized name "China" came into Romanized coinage, and which, speaking of coinage, finally standardized coinage to a state that remained unchanged until modern times. The Qin expanded to the current borders closer than any other had done before or since, and codified laws via Legalism, rather than the lax Confucian tradition of reasonable mediation). Most other dynasties lasted several hundreds of years, yet made far less noteworthy statebuilding achievements, nor were as unsupported by the populace at large. The Qin also hosted the first "cultural revolution" in Chinese history, which would much later be repeated under Mao with unexpectedly disastrous effects.

Rome never knew of China beyond the association with silk trade, mostly from merchant tales. This state of affairs held largely unchanged until modern times, whereas China knew Romans intimately from around 300 AD onward. Learn why China fell so quickly in with Communist ideology and why the color red was so natural a choice for a Chinese revolutionary movement (if somewhat ironic).

After reading this, for an expanded look, buy Gernet's legendary work of same subject.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2008 1:19:06 PM PST
Paul A. Sue says:
what is the title of Genet's book?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2008 12:23:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2009 1:19:22 AM PDT
A History of Chinese Civilization

A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet

(I apparently mistyped the name in my review)

Posted on Mar 14, 2011 3:52:13 AM PDT
Very interesting!
"The Qin also hosted the first "cultural revolution" in Chinese history, which would much later be repeated under Mao with unexpectedly disastrous effects."

Excellent review!

- language author Sam

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2014 10:08:03 AM PST
Thanks, Sam!
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