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The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties (History of Imperial China) Hardcover – May 10, 2010
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Brook has given a readers a fast-paced, intriguing account of the Yuan and Ming dynasties that will be read and enjoyed for many years to come. (David D. Buck Canadian Journal of History 2011-08-01)
Brook's ecological approach to China is both original and timely: for also China's rulers of today are faced with widespread social tension deriving from environmental calamity and natural catastrophe. (Tjalling Halbertsma Journal of Asian History 2011-06-01)
One of those rare works that appeal to both academic and general readers. Its readable prose and intriguing storytelling, coupled with the emphasis on total history, make it more accessible to students at different levels… The Troubled Empire is an outstanding macro study of the Yuan–Ming dynasties by a leading authority on Chinese history. (Wensheng Wang Journal of World History 2012-03-01)
About the Author
Timothy Brook is Professor of History and Republic of China Chair at the University of British Columbia.
Top Customer Reviews
Brook shows well the continuity of the Yuan and Ming periods. He emphasizes the unification of North and South China that occurred under the Yuan with the accompanying expansion of Imperial authority and particularly the Emperor's power. Despite the claim of the Ming founder to restore traditional Chinese institutions, Brooks shows how the Emperor continued to be the fulcrum of government, sometimes with deletrious results when the Emperor was incompetent, disinterested, or unable to control court politics. The Yuan also established Beijing as the capital, necessitating resuscitation of the Grand Canal, which contributed a great deal towards imperial economic integration and creating the enormous internal market that characterized the dynamic Chinese economy. The achievements of the Yuan & Ming states are particularly impressive in the context of the stresses of the Little Ice Age. Brook documents a number of periods he refers to as sloughs in which climate events and other major stresses produced famines and/or epidemics in China. These events are associated with major political changes, including the fall of the Yuan and the Ming.Read more ›
I must say that I found this a surprisingly good book. The author did a good job of telling the history of the two dynasties in an informative and yet interesting manner. He goes through the various factors acting on China, including the growth of the South China Sea trade (and the arrival of the Europeans) and the various changes in the environment, but does not attempt to give too much weight to any one.
I have read a number of books on Chinese history, and too many authors present the various dynasties as following one after another machinelike, as if the fall of one and the rise of another is of no great importance. Quite the contrary, Prof. Brook does a great job of showing the importance of Yuan and Ming Dynasties in the evolution of early China towards modern China. I found this to be a very insightful book on Chinese history, and I highly recommend it to all.
on Yuan-Ming History. Traditionally, the Yuan has been generally viewed alone by itself as a major dynasty, or alternately in close association with the Song (Sung) Dynasty 960-1279 CE. Brook, however, sees more logic and practicality in linking the Yuan and Ming together. This flies in the face of convention, where the Ming and Qing (Ch'ing) dynasties are traditionally viewed as a matched pair, under the well-established rubric of "Late Imperial China" in much the same way we see the Qin (Ch'in) and Han and the Sui and Tang as matched pairs, relative to the labels of "First" and "Second" empires respectfully. Beyond being unconventional in an interesting and thought provoking way, the value of such an approach is that it does two distinctly different tasks all at the same time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
By treating Yuan and Ming as a continuum, the author provides us with an inspiring new perspective for understanding the history of that period, emphasizing the importance of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It is kind of ironic that at present the South China Sea is again a strategic issue. The Hugo Grotius, a Dutch jurist and philosopher published in 1608 the concept of "the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by laurens van den muyzenberg
Good series covering an immense subject. It is interesting that government jobs required an exam, a good idea for the US. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Richard L. Rankin
This thoroughly enjoyable volume is engagingly comprehensive. The effects of the Little Ice Age on both the Yuan and Ming Dynasties are fascinating, and the discussion is based on... Read morePublished on September 23, 2013 by W. Cheung