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Samuel Brown
Samuel Brown

China: A History by John Keay : A Classic and Engaging Account of a Powerful Nation



China: A History by John Keay




If you are interested in learning more about China, one of the most ancient and influential civilizations in the world, you might want to read China: A History by John Keay. This book is a comprehensive and engaging overview of 5,000 years of Chinese history, from the time of the legendary Three Dynasties to the present day. In this article, we will introduce you to the book and its author, explain why you should read it, summarize what it is about, and show you how to get it.




china a history john keay epub 18



Why read this book?




China is a country that defines itself in terms of history. Its rich and complex past has shaped its culture, identity, politics, economy, and society. Understanding China's history can help you appreciate its achievements, challenges, diversity, and uniqueness. It can also help you gain insights into its current role and future prospects in the global arena.


However, Chinese history is not easy to grasp. It is vast, varied, and often contested. There are many sources, perspectives, and interpretations to consider. There are also many gaps, myths, and biases to overcome. That is why you need a reliable and accessible guide that can provide you with a clear and comprehensive picture of China's history.


China: A History by John Keay is such a guide. It is a single-volume history that covers 5,000 years in China, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country. It is written by an expert historian who has spent decades researching and writing about Asia. It is based on extensive scholarship and evidence, but also written in a crisp, judicious, and engaging style. It is a classic history for anyone seeking to understand the present and future of this immensely powerful nation.


What is the book about?




The book is divided into 18 chapters, each focusing on a major period or theme in Chinese history. Here are some highlights:


The Three Dynasties




The book begins with an exploration of the origins of Chinese civilization in the Yellow River valley. It introduces the legendary rulers of the Xia dynasty (c. 2100-1600 BCE), the first historical dynasty of the Shang (c. 1600-1046 BCE), and the longest-lasting dynasty of the Zhou (c. 1046-256 BCE). It also discusses the development of writing, bronze, oracle bones, ritual, and philosophy in this era.


The First Empire




The book then traces the emergence of the first unified empire in China under the Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE), which was founded by the ruthless but visionary Qin Shi Huangdi. It describes how he standardized laws, weights, measures, currency, writing, and roads, and how he built the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. It also examines how his empire collapsed soon after his death, and how it was succeeded by the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), which consolidated and expanded China's territory, culture, trade, and bureaucracy.


The Age of Division




The book follows the fragmentation of China into various states and kingdoms after the fall of the Han dynasty. It highlights the cultural and religious diversity of this period, which saw the spread of Buddhism, Daoism, and foreign influences. It also covers the reunification attempts of the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, which restored political order and fostered artistic and literary achievements.


The Song Renaissance




The book continues with the story of the Song dynasty (960-1279), which is often regarded as a golden age of Chinese civilization. It showcases the economic and technological innovations of this period, such as paper money, gunpowder, printing, and compass. It also reveals the social and cultural changes that occurred, such as urbanization, commercialization, education, and neo-Confucianism.


The Mongol Conquest




The book narrates the invasion and conquest of China by the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his successors. It explains how they established the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), which ruled over China and much of Eurasia. It also analyzes the impact of Mongol rule on China's politics, economy, society, and culture.


The Ming Restoration




The book recounts the overthrow of the Mongols by a peasant rebel leader who founded the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It depicts how the Ming restored Chinese sovereignty and identity, and how they expanded their maritime and military power. It also describes how they faced internal and external challenges that led to their decline.


The Qing Empire




The book describes the rise of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), which was founded by a nomadic people from Manchuria called the Manchus. It illustrates how they conquered China and established a multiethnic empire that reached its peak under Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. It also discusses how they dealt with foreign encroachment, domestic rebellion, and modernization pressures.


The Republican Revolution




The book chronicles the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the emergence of the Republic of China (1912-1949). It explores how China experienced political turmoil, social unrest, cultural ferment, and national awakening in this period. It also introduces some of the key figures and events that shaped China's modern history, such as Sun Yat-sen, Yuan Shikai, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Zedong, the May Fourth Movement, the Warlord Era, the Northern Expedition, the Nanjing Massacre, and the Second Sino-Japanese War.


The Communist Victory




The book details the civil war between the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists led by Mao Zedong. It explains how Mao won with his guerrilla tactics, peasant support, and Soviet aid. It also examines how he established the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 on mainland China, while Chiang retreated to Taiwan with his Republic of China (ROC).


The Mao Era




The book evaluates the radical policies and movements of Mao Zedong and their consequences for China. It covers topics such as land reform, collectivization, industrialization, foreign relations, ideology, culture, education, health care, and dissent. It also focuses on two major campaigns that caused massive suffering and death: The Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).


The Reform Period




The book concludes with an overview of the economic and social transformations of China since Deng Xiaoping launched his reform and opening up policy in 1978. It highlights China's rapid growth, development, and integration into the world economy. It also addresses some of the challenges that China faces today, such as environmental degradation, social inequality, human rights, democracy, corruption, and international relations.


How to get this book?




If you are interested in reading China: A History by John Keay, you have several options. You can buy the hardcover or paperback version from online or offline bookstores. You can also download the epub version from various websites or platforms. Epub is a digital format that allows you to read ebooks on your computer, tablet, smartphone, or e-reader. Here are some of the advantages of epub:


  • It is compatible with most devices and applications.



  • It is easy to adjust the font size, style, and layout according to your preference.



  • It is lightweight and portable, saving you space and weight.



  • It is cheaper and more eco-friendly than printed books.



To download the epub version of China: A History, you can visit the following websites:


Website


Price


Features


Internet Archive


Free


You can borrow or download the book in various formats, including epub, pdf, and mp3. You can also read or listen to it online.


Amazon Kindle Store


$14.99


You can buy and download the book in Kindle format, which is compatible with Kindle devices and apps. You can also access other features such as highlights, notes, bookmarks, and dictionary.


Kobo Books


$14.99


You can buy and download the book in Kobo format, which is compatible with Kobo devices and apps. You can also access other features such as sync, recommendations, and rewards.


Google Play Books


$14.99


You can buy and download the book in Google Play format, which is compatible with Google Play Books app. You can also access other features such as offline reading, night mode, and audiobooks.


Barnes & Noble Nook Store


$14.99


You can buy and download the book in Nook format, which is compatible with Nook devices and apps. You can also access other features such as lending, samples, and ratings.



Conclusion




In conclusion, China: A History by John Keay is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about China's past and present. It is a comprehensive and engaging account of 5,000 years of Chinese history, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country. It is written by an expert historian who has spent decades researching and writing about Asia. It is based on extensive scholarship and evidence, but also written in a crisp, judicious, and engaging style. It is a classic history for anyone seeking to understand the present and future of this immensely powerful nation.


If you are interested in reading this book, you can buy or download it in various formats from online or offline sources. You can also choose to read it in epub format, which has many advantages over printed books. Epub is a digital format that allows you to read ebooks on your computer, tablet, smartphone, or e-reader. It is compatible with most devices and applications. It is easy to adjust the font size, style, and layout according to your preference. It is lightweight and portable, saving you space and weight. It is cheaper and more eco-friendly than printed books.


So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of China: A History by John Keay today and start your journey into the fascinating world of Chinese history. You will not regret it!


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about China: A History by John Keay:


  • How long is the book?



The book is about 600 pages long, with 18 chapters and an epilogue. It also has a map, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index.


  • Who is John Keay?



John Keay is a British historian, journalist, and author who specializes in Asian history and culture. He has written several books on India, China, Tibet, Central Asia, and the East India Company. He is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society.


  • What are some of the sources that the book uses?



The book uses a variety of sources, both primary and secondary, to support its arguments and narratives. Some of the sources include ancient texts, inscriptions, artifacts, chronicles, biographies, memoirs, letters, diaries, newspapers, journals, reports, documents, archives, and academic works.


  • What are some of the themes that the book explores?



The book explores many themes that are relevant to understanding China's history and culture. Some of the themes include continuity and change, unity and diversity, centralization and decentralization, tradition and modernity, identity and difference, power and resistance, cooperation and conflict, innovation and imitation, and integration and isolation.


  • What are some of the criticisms that the book has received?



The book has received mostly positive reviews from critics and readers alike. However, some of the criticisms that the book has faced include its lack of attention to social history, gender history, and regional history; its omission or simplification of some important events or figures; its occasional bias or error in interpretation or presentation; and its Eurocentric or Sinocentric perspective.


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