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Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book overall is facinating in its detail and in the subject matter the author chose to explore. Many of the subjects have not been written about since, so there are still many avenues for further research. It has to be pointed out here that in light of the recent scholarly debates questioning the validity over Marco Polo's writings (see: Frances Woods, 1998 ; US News and World Report, 7/24/00), the quotes used in the book must be looked upon with this in mind. Gernet even points out that a few of the quotes he used in the book did not correspond with Chinese sources of the time (pp. 36, 47).
Although Gernet shows us a glimpse of Southern Song daily life, one with any knowledge of daily life in today's China will notice certain similarities between the two. The growth in mercantilism, rural to urban mass migration, the great disparity between the rich and poor, the popularity of prostitution and other promiscuous behavior all can be found in both societies.Read more ›
This empire would take a beating because of the Mongols' invasion in 1276, but up to then it was an even more impressive China than that Marco Polo would witness several decades later.
The capital was in Hangzhou, a port city near today's Shanghai, and its commercial fleet plied the seas exporting porcelain and silk. There was also relative peace, despite the fact that the Northern provinces had been lost already to the Mongols.
The book is written in scholarly academic style, but its flowing prose remains accessible to the non specialist as well.
The book also mentioned the low-status of the military, with the elites flocking to take public exam leading to lucrative posts in the administration. The administration, though very corrupted (as was in all other Dynasties), actually ran effectively and efficiently.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book describes daily life in the capital of the Han dynasty. It was a very pleasant place because it was located between an artificial lake and a large river. Read morePublished on August 12, 2013 by laurens van den muyzenberg
What a wonderful book! It could do with some help in the format and layout, and the sentences tend to get too long and convoluted (was that the way to write in the 1960s??? Read morePublished on August 7, 2009 by C. Low