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China: Its History and Culture (4th Edition) [Paperback]

W. Scott Morton , Charlton M. Lewis , Charlton Lewis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 12, 2004 0071412794 978-0071412797 4

“A wonderful job! So lucid, beautfully written, with great range and insight. This will set a new standard for short general histories of China.”

―Michael Gasster, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University

Newly updated and revised, China: Its History and Culture, Fourth Edition, incorporates the crucial social and economic changes that have taken place in China over the last decade. Through rich detail and engaging illustrations, the book traces China’s history from Neolithic times to the present day.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A concise and thorough history of one of the world's most powerful nations

This brilliantly lucid and concise study traces China's history and culture from Neolithic times to the present, working into an integrated and authoritative narrative that covers centuries of politics, warfare and government, science and technology, economics and commerce, religion, philosophy, and the arts. Most valuable of all, Dr. Morton illuminates the essential Chinese design, the underlying mental set of the people and the society. He has given approximately equal treatment to all premodern periods, as each has its importance in the evolving history of the Chinese experience, and has illustrated the work with numerous photographs, maps, paintings and drawings and quotations from the literature.

Newly updated and revised, China: Its History and Culture, Fourth Edition, also carefully examines the crucial social and economic changes that have taken place in China over the last decade.

"A wonderful job! So lucid, beautifully written, with great range and insight. This will set a new standard for short general histories of China."--Michael Gasster, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University

"Simple, concise, factual, and yet comprehensive, penetrating and readable."--Wing-Tsit Chan, Professor of Chinese Philosophy and Culture Emeritus, Dartmouth College

About the Author

W. Scott Morton (New York, NY) is a full professor emeritus in Chinese and Japanese history and culture and in ancient history at Seton Hall University, in New Jersey.

Charlton N. Lewis (Brooklyn, NY) is a professor emeritus of Chinese history at Brooklyn College, CUNY.


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 4 edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071412794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071412797
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something new every time I open it October 6, 2016
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this as a textbook for a college course on Eastern culture. I have since read and re-read the book, cover to cover and in fragments. No matter which way I approach reading this book, I feel like I learn something new each time! A wonderful addition to my library.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, Concise Overview of Chinese History May 8, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short History of China! January 10, 2017
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent short history of China history and culture. It is well written and interesting. I appreciate the scholarship here and the fact that is relatively up to date. A very useful book wanting to understand China.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good readable history of China September 13, 2016
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a solid and readable history of China for anyone wanting a concise history. I read it in preparation to a trip there and it was good background, if not overly detailed, work.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recomended Text on China's History November 3, 2012
By Hwang
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, written by professor emeritus of Chinese and Japanese history and culture and of ancient history of Seton University Hall, W. Scott Morton - the preeminent authority on the subject, in collaboration with professor emeritus of Brooklyn College, CUNY, Charlton M. Lewis, constitutes the text used in the course on Chinese and Japanese history that was taught in CSUF during the autumn months of 1988, and is the best text book I have ever come across on the development of Chinese culture from the early days of Chinese history through to present day China. Documents the dynastic changes and the development of Chinese culture and tradition from those days until Chairman Mao's time.

This book focuses on the rise and fall of each dynasty from the Zhou Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty, in what is commonly known as the dynastic cycle, and further traces the impact of foreign aggression on China during the first and second Opium War that wrecked havoc on the Chinese nation and economy, causing inexpressible suffering on the Chinese people, during which time China was left deeply humiliated and was known as the sick of man of Asia - a ripe watermelon to be carved. The Imperial Palace was looted, Chinese cultural heritage in the form of paintings, arts and crafts were destroyed, and the palace eventually burned to the ground. Further to this, it discusses the Republican Revolution under the father of the Republic, Sun Yat Sen, and traces the rise of anti-West sentiment fueling the rise of the popular revolution brought to fruition by Mao Tze Dong that gave birth to the People's Republic of China.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good March 30, 2016
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good book if you're seeking to learn about China's history and culture , helped me pass my Chinese heritage class
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good general survey August 23, 2009
By J. Baer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very clearly written and understandable. The author concentrates mostly on political, military and economic affairs, but highlights broader cultural and social trends where they are relevant. I wish a little more space had been devoted to culture, art and the like.

China's ancient history is covered in about 150 pages, and the second half of the book looks at the last 200 years and the interaction with the West and Japan. What was most relevant to a modern Westerner was emphasized. Also emphasized were reoccurring trends in ancient history that seem to find expression in Communist and post-Communist life. I felt this was an acceptable way of highlighting 3000 years of history, but if you are most interested in ancient Chinese history for its own sake this book will not be for you.

There aren't as many photos and illustrations as I would have liked. Also, as I stated, I wish the culture had been more deeply penetrated. This is still a serviceable introduction to the interested layman with little prior exposure to the subject. I liked well enough that I will buy the author's companion piece on Japan.
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