Top critical review
33 people found this helpful
on February 3, 2016
Keay's narrative on the history of China is certainly different than the conventional ones written on the subject. For the first few pages, one may find this refreshing and even entertaining. However, reading on, one soon discovers that Keay's own views are persistently found throughout. Keay spends much of the book to dwell on the non Han minorities. This is understandable since throughout Chinese history minorities play an important role, but the book should be more balanced for more descriptions on other areas of Chinese history such as the developments in art, culture, religion. Keay is an expert on Indian history; I suspect more so than on Chinese history, and perhaps that expertise caused him to write more on tribal cultures and influences. Furthermore, Keay's opinions on the characteristics of dynastic and monarchic rule continue to show up in the narration, which is first tiresome and then becomes annoying.
Not recommended as a first book on the history of China. It is an interesting read for a different but opinionated perspective on the subject, probably for readers who already have basic knowledge of the subject.