Cover image for A concise history of China
Title:
A concise history of China
Author:
Roberts, J. A. G., 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxv, 341 pages : maps ; 23 cm
General Note:
"First United Kingdom publication 1999 by Macmillan Press Ltd as A history of China"--T.p. verso.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780674000742

9780674000759
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
DS735 .R63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
DS735 .R63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...
Searching...
DS735 .R63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...
Searching...
DS735 .R63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
DS735 .R63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

The centuries-long complexity of China's political experience, the richness of its culture, and the drama of its economic unfolding are the hallmarks of this short but sweeping history. China's own history is entwined with its response to the West in a rich tapestry depicting its peoples, rulers, and society. More than a nuanced history of a vast continent, this study is sensitive to the multifaceted and changing interpretations of China that have been offered over the years.In this overarching book, J. A. G. Roberts refers to recent archeological finds--the caches of bronze vessels found at Sanxingdui--and to new documentary reevaluations--the reassessment of Manchu documentation. The first half of the book provides an up-to-date interpretation of China's early and imperial history, while the second half concentrates on the modern period and provides an interpretive account of major developments--the impact of Western imperialism, the rise of Chinese Communism, and the record of the People's Republic of China since 1949.Concise and direct, this book is a compelling narrative and handy companion for those interested in China.


Summary

The centuries-long complexity of China's political experience, the richness of its culture, and the drama of its economic unfolding are the hallmarks of this short but sweeping history. China's own history is entwined with its response to the West in a rich tapestry depicting its peoples, rulers, and society. More than a nuanced history of a vast continent, this study is sensitive to the multifaceted and changing interpretations of China that have been offered over the years.In this overarching book, J. A. G. Roberts refers to recent archeological finds--the caches of bronze vessels found at Sanxingdui--and to new documentary reevaluations--the reassessment of Manchu documentation. The first half of the book provides an up-to-date interpretation of China's early and imperial history, while the second half concentrates on the modern period and provides an interpretive account of major developments--the impact of Western imperialism, the rise of Chinese Communism, and the record of the People's Republic of China since 1949.Concise and direct, this book is a compelling narrative and handy companion for those interested in China.


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

Chinese history, given its length and diversity, can frequently puzzle the untrained Western reader. Roberts, a specialist in East Asian history at the University of Huddersfield, England, has written a concise, coherent, and unadorned survey of Chinese history. His sharp prose is readable without being condescending to the general reader, and he does an admirable job of explaining the importance and accomplishments of the various dynasties, philosophers, and political and military leaders who have left their mark on Chinese culture. While scholars are unlikely to find much new here, those laypeople who wish to gain a greater appreciation of this ancient, vital, and fascinating land will find this work enjoyable and immensely informative. --Jay Freeman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Capturing the full sweep of China's tormented history, this succinct yet highly informative chronicle skillfully incorporates the latest research, whether the topic is China's vast, cosmopolitan eighth-century cities of the Tang empire, the widespread practice of female infanticide during the Ming period (especially the 15th century), China's failure to industrialize in the 18th century, or the rivalry between Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping following the disaster of the Great Leap Forward, when Mao found himself increasingly excluded from power. In the ancient battle of Confucianists, who called for ethical, benevolent rule, versus Legalists, who put the state's interests first, the lineaments of the power struggles that have convulsed modern China become visible. Along the way, British historian Roberts, the author of four other books on China, continually challenges received opinions and conventional interpretations. He rejects, for instance, the traditional verdict that Mongol rule over China was an unmitigated catastrophe; the Mongols were in some ways more humane and less ideologically restrictive than their Song dynasty predecessors, he opines. While much of the narrative centers on rebellions, politics and the rise and fall of dynasties and empires, Roberts keeps up the momentum with shrewd assessments of personalities and events, colorful incidents and interludes covering artistic as well as religious and intellectual developments. He provides a handy compass for understanding China's headlong economic modernization, its crushing of the democracy movement and the current deadlock between reformers and conservatives. Maps. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This literate, well-balanced general history of China from the earliest times through the death of Deng Xiaoping in 1997 is a singular accomplishment. In the first three chapters, Roberts (history, Univ. of Huddersfield, England) covers China from pre-history through the Yuan dynasty; in the last four, he carries the story from the Ming through the post-Mao reforms. His focus is on political history, but social, economic, and intellectual trends are not neglected. The very few errors are concentrated in the last chapter on post-1949 China, perhaps a period the author knows less well. Throughout, Roberts cites different interpretations of key historical issues, including the most recent scholarship, thereby conveying a sense of Chinese history as a dynamic, evolving field. An excellent textbook for intelligent undergraduates, this is also accessible to general readers and belongs in all college and larger public libraries.--Steven I. Levine, Univ. of Montana, Missoula (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Chinese history, given its length and diversity, can frequently puzzle the untrained Western reader. Roberts, a specialist in East Asian history at the University of Huddersfield, England, has written a concise, coherent, and unadorned survey of Chinese history. His sharp prose is readable without being condescending to the general reader, and he does an admirable job of explaining the importance and accomplishments of the various dynasties, philosophers, and political and military leaders who have left their mark on Chinese culture. While scholars are unlikely to find much new here, those laypeople who wish to gain a greater appreciation of this ancient, vital, and fascinating land will find this work enjoyable and immensely informative. --Jay Freeman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Capturing the full sweep of China's tormented history, this succinct yet highly informative chronicle skillfully incorporates the latest research, whether the topic is China's vast, cosmopolitan eighth-century cities of the Tang empire, the widespread practice of female infanticide during the Ming period (especially the 15th century), China's failure to industrialize in the 18th century, or the rivalry between Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping following the disaster of the Great Leap Forward, when Mao found himself increasingly excluded from power. In the ancient battle of Confucianists, who called for ethical, benevolent rule, versus Legalists, who put the state's interests first, the lineaments of the power struggles that have convulsed modern China become visible. Along the way, British historian Roberts, the author of four other books on China, continually challenges received opinions and conventional interpretations. He rejects, for instance, the traditional verdict that Mongol rule over China was an unmitigated catastrophe; the Mongols were in some ways more humane and less ideologically restrictive than their Song dynasty predecessors, he opines. While much of the narrative centers on rebellions, politics and the rise and fall of dynasties and empires, Roberts keeps up the momentum with shrewd assessments of personalities and events, colorful incidents and interludes covering artistic as well as religious and intellectual developments. He provides a handy compass for understanding China's headlong economic modernization, its crushing of the democracy movement and the current deadlock between reformers and conservatives. Maps. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This literate, well-balanced general history of China from the earliest times through the death of Deng Xiaoping in 1997 is a singular accomplishment. In the first three chapters, Roberts (history, Univ. of Huddersfield, England) covers China from pre-history through the Yuan dynasty; in the last four, he carries the story from the Ming through the post-Mao reforms. His focus is on political history, but social, economic, and intellectual trends are not neglected. The very few errors are concentrated in the last chapter on post-1949 China, perhaps a period the author knows less well. Throughout, Roberts cites different interpretations of key historical issues, including the most recent scholarship, thereby conveying a sense of Chinese history as a dynamic, evolving field. An excellent textbook for intelligent undergraduates, this is also accessible to general readers and belongs in all college and larger public libraries.--Steven I. Levine, Univ. of Montana, Missoula (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

List of Mapsp. vi
Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Mapsp. xvi
1 The Prehistory and Early History of Chinap. 1
2 From the Period of Division to the Tang Dynastyp. 40
3 The Song and Yuan Dynastiesp. 79
4 The Early Modern Period: The Ming and the Early Qingp. 118
5 China in the Late Qingp. 162
6 Republican China, 1911-49p. 206
7 China since the 1949 Revolutionp. 256
Epiloguep. 300
Notesp. 301
Further Readingp. 309
Indexp. 317
List of Mapsp. vi
Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Mapsp. xvi
1 The Prehistory and Early History of Chinap. 1
2 From the Period of Division to the Tang Dynastyp. 40
3 The Song and Yuan Dynastiesp. 79
4 The Early Modern Period: The Ming and the Early Qingp. 118
5 China in the Late Qingp. 162
6 Republican China, 1911-49p. 206
7 China since the 1949 Revolutionp. 256
Epiloguep. 300
Notesp. 301
Further Readingp. 309
Indexp. 317