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China : A History

3.89 (1,218 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Many nations define themselves in terms of territory or people China defines itself in terms of history. Taking into account the country's unrivaled, voluminous tradition of history writing, John Keay has composed a vital and illuminating overview of the nation's complex and vivid past. Keay's authoritative history examines 5,000 years in China, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country. Crisp, judicious, and engaging, China is the classic single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand the present and future of this immensely powerful nation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 608 pages
  • 165 x 234 x 43mm | 806g
  • BASIC BOOKS
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0465025188
  • 9780465025183
  • 132,519

Review quote

"John Keay has written...with unflagging zest, clear, accessible prose, and a refreshingly panoramic perspective." --Open Letters Monthly "Without sacrificing substance for brevity, Keay manages to illustrate China's history very much as a narrative of the rise and fall of strong and feeble emperors, bureaucratic cliques and factionalism, the development of philosophical traditions and religious incarnations, and the constant restructuring of the empire's geographical boundaries. Readers already interested in, or wishing newly to embark upon, Chinese history will adore this book. Highly recommended."--Library Journal "Absorbingly readable.... A pleasingly cultured account of the great sweep of China's evolution."--Independent (UK) "Here, at roughly 130 pages per millennium, is China's history from the earliest fragments of Xia dynasty to the last emperor, with a little of Chairman Mao added for good (or bad) luck. Its core, though, covers the 'big five' dynasties--Han, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing--from 200 BC to the start of the twentieth century, and Keay's choice is deliberate. There is no understanding China present or future without a sense of its past. Much of that past, by any standard, is awe-inspiring."--Observer (UK) "Exquisitely written.... In fluid, effortless prose, Keay moves energetically through the vicissitudes of China's dynastic past."--Guardian (UK)
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About John Keay

John Keay is a former special correspondent for the Economist and contributes regularly to the Sunday Telegraph, Times Higher Educational Supplement, and the Literary Review. His past books include the best-selling India: A History. He lives in Argyll, Scotland.
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Rating details

1,218 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 25% (307)
4 47% (572)
3 21% (257)
2 5% (64)
1 1% (18)
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