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China: A New History, Second Enlarged Edition 2nd Revised & enlarged Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674018280
ISBN-10: 0674018281
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

No American scholar of China was better known to the public and academia alike than Fairbank. This history of China, completed two days before his death in 1991, is a fitting final work. In covering the breadth of the country's history, from the earliest archaeological records to the present, the author is occasionally short on details, but lay readers and undergraduate students will appreciate the perceptive analysis and explanation throughout, leading to a better understanding of this complex nation, its people, and its importance in the world. Furthermore, Fairbank's command of recent research, along with an excellent bibliography, will appeal to the scholarly audience. Highly recommended. History Book Club selection.
- Kenneth W. Berger, Duke Univ. Lib., Durham, N.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Manages to tell its sprawling, turbulent, 4,000-year story in a single volume without either losing clarity or oversimplifying its subject...Rich and fascinating. (Arnold R. Isaacs San Francisco Chronicle)

Will serve for decades to come as a standard reference and textbook. (Robert L. Worden Washington Post Book World)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; 2nd Revised & enlarged edition (April 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674018281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674018280
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This, along with Wing-Tsit Chan's A SOURCE BOOK IN CHINESE PHILOSOPHY provided my first serious look at Chinese culture.
Fairbank's CHINA details the development of China from earliest times through the Tiananmen massacre: Xia & Shang, Zhou, the Spring and Autumn period, the Warring States period, the Qin Unification, the Han dynasty, disintegration, the subsequent rise of Sia and Tang dynasties, disintegration and the rise of the Song, the Northern and Southern Song along with the development of the kingdoms and empires of the Mongols who slowly conquered China, the Ming dynasty that expelled the Mongols, the Manchurian Qing dynasty that conquered all China and ruled until China became a Republic, Sun Yatsen, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kaishek), fascism and communism, the rise of Mao and the Nationalist flight to Taiwan, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and Deng Xiaphing (Dong Zai-phong).
Of special interest are discussions on the rise of Confucianism, Daoism, Chinese Buddhism and Christian in-roads created by missionaries; the respective roles of Legalism, early imperial Confucianism and neo-Confucianism in the formation and evolution of the Chinese state; the horrors and extent of foot-binding among Chinese women; the influence of both communists and fascists in the Guomindang party and the open conflict between the "blue shirt" fascists (formed by Chiang Kaishek) and the Communist party; and the role of the USSR and Comintern in the development and organization of Communism in China (originally in the Guomindang and later in the Chinese Communist Party).
Thought-provoking and interesting, the book does suffer from infrequent flaws such as irrelevant personal attacks (e.g., Reaganesque = simple-minded) and giving too little details in some areas.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a scholar of Chinese history. I just wanted to know more about the culture. I found the book to be very enjoyable. The topic was too broad for the book to spend much time in any detail of the subject. The book is well reasoned and excellent for those of us that want to know the basics about Chinese history. For those that read the other reviewer comments, bear in mind that the book covers Chinese history for prehistoric time to present day. Any commentary about US policy occurs in the very tail end. The book does do a good job contrasting the Chinese outlook to the western viewpoint.
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Format: Paperback
You can get a lot out of this book as a basic introduction to Chinese civilization if you are willing to slog through it. It is clearly written and covers the essential facts, but it lacks taste and deep interpretation. In others words, it can be studied but should not be read for pleasure or even intellectual stimulation. I used it to complete certain gaps in my knowledge of Chinese history, which was necessary and useful, but it just feels so academic and pedantic. Maybe that is what must happen in most general survey introductions like this one: it is stripped down so far that it cut not just fat but muscle and bone. In contrast, "The Search for Modern China" by J. Spence is a work of art as well as history, and constantly stimulates the reader to probe deeper, farther, opening a world. Unfortunately, Fairbank and Goldman accomplished none of that.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the many different comments people have had for this book. It contains a lot of information, its very dull at times, and it does not go into great depth all the time.
The bottom line is that is exactly what this book is. Its a short basic history of China. This is more of a reference book than a specific look at a very specific event.
No, China experts will not be in love with this book. But anyone looking for a survey of Chinese History or looking for a decent desk/bookcase reference book on China will find this book useful.
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Format: Paperback
This book certainly provides a complete chronology of China's political, military, and economic history, but it is like dry wheat toast - good for you, but not very enjoyable. In places, the authors themselves seem uninterested in the subject. For example, the end of thousands of years of imperial rule is dispensed in one paragraph - no discussion. Personally, I wish I had bought a different book.
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By A Customer on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Specialists in Chinese history and culture will not learn anything from this book. But that's not why it was written. Westerners are very ignorant of Chinese history, and this book is a good introduction to the big themes in China--government and protest, economic development and poverty, the influence of the West, education, and more. For example, the mistrust of China's government of Falun Gong is much more understandable when you know about the earlier religion-based revolutions and civil wars in Chinese history, which I'm sure the President of the United States is not aware of, despite his well-meaning platitudes about freedom of religion. I enjoyed this book greatly and reread portions often.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fairbank's love for China shows through this book but he simply does not provide enough factual information. He provides his own insights from years of study but seldom supports those conclusions with examples or at least a few anecdotes. The two volume history by Tanner is much better.
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