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China: A History

China: A History

Harold M. Tanner

2009 - 624 pp.

Format ISBN Price Qty
Cloth 978-0-87220-916-9
$63.00
Paper 978-0-87220-915-2
$29.00
Examination 978-0-87220-915-2
$4.00

Quick Overview

"Tanner has written an excellent text on Chinese history which offers a fine balance between the traditional and the modern. He also charts a good balance between studies of the elite, government, philosophy and diplomacy and, on the other hand, analyses of ordinary people, economic institutions, social patterns, and folk religion. The book provides a comprehensive view of Chinese culture, including developments in literature and the arts. A generous selection of illustrations facilitates comprehension of and pleasure in the visual arts. Finally, Professor Tanner's consideration of Western contact with China and the attendant problems and gains is judicious and informative."
     —Morris Rossabi, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York

OR

To view color images of those in the book, and others corresponding to the text, please visit the China: A History title support page by clicking Here.

China:  A History—available in one volume or two—is adopted at more than fifty colleges and universities, including:

  • Brown University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Columbia University
  • Concordia College
  • Frostburg State University
  • Johnson City Community College
  • University of Kansas
  • Kenyon College
  • Middlebury College
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Occidental College
  • Princeton University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington

Eminently accessible, yet rigorous, this engaging introduction to the political, social, and cultural development of Chinese civilization tells the story of China—from its beginnings to the present day—in a way that goes beyond simple, misleading accounts of a glorious civilization falling victim to Western and Japanese imperialism or of a supposedly isolated country only recently and reluctantly opening to the outside world. Woven into the narrative are the striking stories of heroes and villains, of women and men, of tragedy and comedy, of high culture and coarse humor, of extremes of wealth and poverty, of feast and famine, and of exquisite art and terrible suffering.

Characteristic of Harold Tanner's presentation is the development and carefully balanced recounting of important themes—such as the ethnic diversity of the early empires, interaction with other civilizations, and the challenge of transforming a multi-ethnic empire into a modern nation-state—that other histories of China omit entirely or discuss only minimally.

Includes a chronology, suggested further readings, illustrations, maps, and an index.

Reviews:

"A solid, clearly written and up-to-date account of China's dynastic history, taking note of recent research, and with attention to cultural developments and economic practice. An accessible read, even for first-comers to this highly complex subject; this is an excellent introduction to China that instructors will welcome and students will enjoy."
     —Michael Loewe, University Lecturer in Chinese Studies, University of Cambridge 1963—1990; Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall.
 

"Tanner has written an excellent text on Chinese history which offers a fine balance between the traditional and the modern. He also charts a good balance between studies of the elite, government, philosophy and diplomacy and, on the other hand, analyses of ordinary people, economic institutions, social patterns, and folk religion. 
    "The book provides a comprehensive view of Chinese culture, including developments in literature and the arts. A generous selection of illustrations facilitates comprehension of and pleasure in the visual arts.    
     "Finally, Professor Tanner's consideration of Western contact with China and the attendant problems and gains is judicious and informative."
     —Morris Rossabi, Distinguished Professor of History, City University of New York

" . . . . Tanner writes attractively . . . . He tells many stories of villains and heroes, of tragedy and comedy, of high culture and coarse humour, of wealth and poverty, of feast and famine, of poignant suffering, all of which keep the reader's interest and indeed fascination. It is a heroic tale that he tells and he does this superbly, rejecting myths and misunderstandings that have beset Western views of a complex country."
     —G.R. Batho, The Historical Association Reviews

 

"I like Tanner's books because they combine up-to-date knowledge of the state of the field with concise and accessible writing—at a very affordable price."
     —Jeremy Brown, Department of History, Simon Fraser University

Contents:

PART I –THE EARLY EMPIRE: BUILDING INSTITUTIONS
AND IDENTITY, 2070(?) BCE–220 CE


Chapter 1: From Myth to History: The Beginnings of the Chinese State and Culture in the
Xia, Shang, and Western Zhou Dynasties
Chapter 2: The Age of Fighting and Philosophy: The Eastern Zhou Dynasty
Chapter 3: From Feudal States to Bureaucratic Empire: The Qin and Western Han Dynasties
Chapter 4: The Decline and Fall of Eastern Civilization: The Xin and Eastern Han Dynasties 

PART II – CULTURAL INTERACTION AND TRANSFORMATION, 220–1368

Chapter 5: The Age of Warriors and Buddhists: The Three Kingdoms, Western Jin, and the
Period of North-South Division
Chapter 6: A Multi-Ethnic Empire: The Sui and Tang Dynasties
Chapter 7: Competing Suns in Heaven: The Song and Its Neighbors
Chapter 8: China in the Mongol Empire: The Yuan Dynasty 

PART III – A NEW CONFUCIAN EMPIRE, 1368–1911

Chapter 9: A Model Government for the Ages: The Early to Mid-Ming Dynasty
Chapter 10: Wealth and Instability: The Mid- and Late Ming
Chapter 11: A Manchu Empire: The Qing Dynasty to 1799
Chapter 12: The Qing Dynasty's 19th-Century Crises

PART IV – THE ROAD TO WEALTH AND POWER, 1911–Present

Chapter 13: Struggling to Build a Nation: The 1911 Revolution and the Early Republic, 1912–26 
Chapter 14: Years of Turmoil: China Under Chiang Kai-shek's Guomindang Government 
Chapter 15: The People's Republic of China: The Mao Era 
Chapter 16: The March Toward Wealth and Power

 

About the Author:

Harold M. Tanner is Professor of History at the University of North Texas.