Ming China, 1368-1644: A Concise History of a Resilient Empire (Critical Issues in World and International History) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442204911
ISBN-10: 1442204915
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  • Length: 172 pages
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Dardess’s achievement is that he has condensed the whole story into a neat book under 150 pages long. . . . Dardess’s focus on why the Ming dynasty endured, as opposed to why it failed, is both refreshing and necessary. . . . Ming China will inspire the student and challenge the specialist and is thus a very positive contribution. (Journal of Asian Studies)

In this deft, elegant overview of the Ming Dynasty, Dardess (Univ. of Kansas), one of the most eminent living scholars of the period, effortlessly compresses over two and a half centuries of history into a mere 148 pages of text, including notes for further reading. Five chapters cover the Ming empire from its frontiers to its center, and from the apex of power down to the level of bandits and outlaws. Dardess argues that the dynasty was a powerful and enduring polity whose culture was shaped by the chronic steppe threat on its northern border and the efforts of the literati at the center of society to adapt to changing economic and political realities. . . . The single best introduction to the Ming Dynasty available. An excellent starting point for those interested in the period. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. (CHOICE)

An entirely original and fresh recounting of Ming history. The genius of the work is in its innovative organization, which economically structures the story into five lively chapters that build logically one upon the other to move vertically down the strata of Ming society while developing a chronological narrative within each chapter. This much-needed book will appeal both to general readers and to students of Chinese history and culture. (Edward L. Farmer, University of Minnesota)

About the Author

John W. Dardess is professor emeritus of history at the University of Kansas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 730 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 16, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 16, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076LXQEI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,202 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By doc peterson VINE VOICE on February 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Ming were a complex dynasty, difficult to write concisely about. Proudly ethnocentric, they sought to undo the policies of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty and "Sinicize" China after its conquest by its northern neighbors. Politically they began voyages of exploration generations before the Portugese and Spanish; ironically the seeds of its economic destruction were planted by European silver, the result of their colonization of the New World. Intellecutally, the Ming witnessed an explosion of literacy the likes of which China had not witnessed since the T'ang Dynasty 400 years earlier. In spite of its accomplishments, the MIng only lasted 257 years - although many of its institutions would be continued by the Qing, begging the question why were the Ming ultimately unsuccessful?

Dardess, professor emeritus from the Universtiy of Kansas, explores this question through five lenses, each increasingly smaller in scope: the frontiers (examining Ming foreign policy), emperors (providing a brief synopssis of the 16 Ming rulers), governance (specifically at the provincial level), literati (those among the educated classes who for whatever reason were either not admitted into the civil service, as well as anecdotes from the lower eschelons of the government), and outlaws. The deductive organizaiton of the book was a bit odd, having only a rudimentary understanding of the Ming. While taken as a whole, the direction and purpose eventually becomes clear (Dardess shows the interconnectedness of Ming policy from a macro-level to the micro, thereby highlighting both strengths as well as flaws), it required patience and trust to get there. I much would have preferred a more chronological approach in organization.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This gave me a better idea of who was who during the Ming era. It lays out the major players and identifies them, and it's a good starting tool for someone who knows nothing about China or the Ming era.
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Not bad. I'd give it five stars except that I think it could have delved into a broader treatment of society and confucian values than it did. Otherwise, extremely insightful treatment of a period I have seen a lot of inferior work on.
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