China: History of China

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China History Books

Beautifully illustrated, giving the sense of the lives of the non-military as well as the military.


Some of the more interesting areas regard how things are done, such as how rice and silk are cultivated and how hardwood furniture and ceramics are manufactured.

If it has a weakness the book lacks a strong sense of historical narrative: I was glad to have Roberts' A Concise History of China at hind, to clarify the sequence in which things happened, the scores being settled, and the debts being paid.


  1. The Origins of Chinese Civilization: Neolithic Period to the Western Zhou Dynasty.
  2. Philosphical Foundations: The Eastern Zhou Period.
  3. The Creation of the Bureaucractic Empire: The Qin and Han Dynasties.
  4. Buddhism, Aristocracy, and Alien Rulers: The Age of Division.
  5. A Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty.
  6. Shifting South: The Song Dynasty.
  7. Alien Rule: The Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasties.
  8. The Limits of Autocracy: The Ming Dynasty.
  9. Manchus and Imperialism: The Qing Dynasty.
  10. Taking Action: THe Early Twentieth Century.
  11. Radical Reunification: The People's Republic.
  12. Opening to the World: China Since 1976.

A Concise History of China by J. A. G. Roberts

Roberts' A Concise History of China (1999) is a more traditional (lots of names and dates; no color illustrations of art) history in which the factions and causes and consequences are relatively clear; hence it is a useful complement to Ebrey's book, where the facts are relatively sparse and motivations are often unclear.

Features include:

On China by Henry Kissinger

[in progress]

Historical fiction set in China

19th century China:

20th century China: