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The Story of China: The Epic History of a…

The Story of China: The Epic History of a World Power from the Middle… (udgave 2020)

af Michael Wood (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
583362,927 (4.43)15
Titel:The Story of China: The Epic History of a World Power from the Middle Kingdom to Mao and the China Dream
Forfattere:Michael Wood (Forfatter)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2020), 624 pages
Nøgleord:Adult, Non-Fiction, History

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The Story of China: A Portrait of a Civilisation and Its People af Michael Wood


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Chinese history in not something that is studied with any depth here in the west. As a casual student of history, I have frequently attempted to do this on my own with mixed results. Most of the books that I have read are structured a lot like the history text books from which we learn our own history ... basically a list of dates, events and people on a timeline to memorize. Rarely do we see any attempt to explain the impact of these events on the social consciousness of the society in which they happen. This book not only provides an accessible survey of Chinese history, it compares and contrasts the social difference as well as presenting a reasonable hypothesis for why East and West have such divergent approaches to governance. Key to this examination are the references to contemporary western (greek/roman) philosophers and historians. From this I believe that I have a better understanding of the importance of conformity within eastern cultures, and how such could fall under the influence of such "Machiavellian" thought found within "The Book of Lord Shang." (Loc 1088/12%).

As expected given the time periods covered, this is a huge book packed with a great deal of information; some more interesting to me and some less so. I found myself skimming over a lot of the literary references in part because I had a hard time understanding how they reinforced or supported some of the authors points on Chinese culture. That still left a lot of material to slog through. The book is organized by dynasties (Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing) and interregnums (Warring States, Three Kingdoms, Five Dynasties, Taiping & Boxer Rebellions, etc.), highlighting the cultural contributions (and continuity) of each as well as the reasons for decline and inevitable fall (loss of the Mandate of Heaven). What I found most interesting was the intersection of the Confucian ideal of the sage-ruler and the evolution of rather autocratic rulers (almost as if they knew they didn't have what was needed and through increasing paranoia harshly suppressed any criticism). Criticism and/or failure of any kind seems detrimental to life (not just your own, but your entire family to the 9th degree). This all has something of a discordant feel to people raised within a modern western culture (aka me). For pivotal events ... such as Mao's revolution ... the author tries to show multiple viewpoints (from traditional history to how it played in the rural areas with the common man).

Over all I found this book to be significantly helpful in understanding the differences between the east and west world views and I highly recommend it.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#TheStoryofChina #NetGalley ( )
  Kris.Larson | Sep 13, 2021 |
historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, cultural-heritage, cultural-exploration, illustrations*****

I've read the Charles River Editors segments of the history of China, but most of them are so obviously Publish or Perish that it becomes hard to remember what I learned. This tome is so very different, even if a few of the illustrations appear to be the same. This one is eminently understandable and the retention should be much better. I actually enjoyed it! But it does require reading it in segments to avoid being overwhelmed.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Nov 17, 2020 |
This is an incredible, epic read of Chinese history. Covering 4000 years of history is a daunting task, however the author does an excellent job of it. Breaking down the history into specific dynasties, Wood's makes you feel like you are there as history is being made. He manages to accomplish this not by reciting boring facts and dates, but by telling a story in each section.
This is not a book that you can plow through in one sitting. It requires your attention, and the reading of one chapter at a time, then taking time to digest it. But....you will come away with a much greater appreciation of China and it's people.
On a different note, as I read this, I was discussing the chapters with a Chinese student that we have hosted. She was very surprised, stating several times that she "did not know that"!
I highly recommend this book! ( )
  1Randal | Sep 23, 2020 |
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