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All Men Are Brothers Paperback – January 1, 2006
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Original Language: Chinese
Top Customer Reviews
The epic story took place about 100 years prior to time of Robin Hood. But the story contains many parallels to the story Robin Hood. Just as Robin and his merry band hid in the woods of Nottingham and, in the name of Richard III against the usurping King John, robbed the rich to help the poor, so too did the bandit kngs live as outlaws from the authorities in the "water margins" (marshes) of Sung Dynasty China coming out only to harass the prime minister's troops and attempt to solicit followers to overthrow the corrupt prime minister in the name of the emporer.
The two volume set is a splendid read and helps the reader understand more about the Chinese government and culture in the eleventh century.
The title is based on a saying by Confucius: "Among the four seas, all men are brothers. How can the gentleman bemoans that he is without one?" I bought the bound volume way back in 1959. Pearl S. Buck has done an excellent in translating this famous book of the Chinese. Reportedly, all the Chinese leaders are fond of this work. This work is based partly on fact and partly on imagination of the original author: Shi Nai An. In those days of Shi, tales of Shui Hu Chuan were told and retold at popular teahouses where the folks gathered to drink tea and for a few copper coins would listen attentively to the storyteller's retelling of the story from his prompt books. Then the author gathered all these prompt books and assembled them after editing into bookform as we are able to enjoy it today.
This story is the awesome adventures of the one hundred and eight martial heroes and the book have been translated into several foreign languages, notably Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese. I had personally saw a Korean translation of Shui Hu Chuan in a Korean book shop in Canada. In 1995, the CCTV or China Central Television successfully made a 43-episode docudrama of this famous novel and the depiction of the actions of the heroes are excellently done. Each episode last about 45 minutes and the TV drama is available on DVD but unfortunate the subtile is not yet available in English for Western viewers!
The Shui Hu Chuan (Shui means water, while Hu is lake and Chuan means story)is the first martial arts novel in both China and the world.Read more ›
Unlike some other translations, Pearl Buck tries to refer to characters with just a single name. This is an issue, as Chinese novels sometimes refer to the same character by several different names, making it much harder to follow the plot.
I remember a story being told that a father introduced this novel to his son before other classical stories not because it is the 'best' Chinese novel, but because he knew his son would read 'All Men are Brothers' eventually anyway and he wanted to guide his son through its more contentious passages!
The stories contained within 'All Men are Brothers' are enthralling, and provided an insight into a life and culture which no longer - or perhaps ever - exists, but still has echoes in Chinese society (and movies!) today. One warning, the 'prologue' describing the release of the spirits is one of the more confusing and perhaps boring chapters of the book. The rest of the book is much less confusing.
Oh, I did play the computer game mentioned by another reviewer, but only after I read the book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some characters are complex, others are stereotypes. However I have enjoyed reading it.Published 14 months ago by Amis
wao such literati
so good bookerino
ten out of ten would recommend
I searched for years to find an out of print copy of this book. I only found the Pearl Buck translation after having read the Beijing foreign press version titled "Outlaws of the... Read morePublished on January 18, 2012 by joseph
Very pleased with my purchase. It arrived faster than I expected. was exaclty what I ordered & was in fantastic shape.Published on July 28, 2010 by Chad Ikewood