History of imperial China /
Timothy Brook, general editor.
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, c2007-
description
v. : ill., maps
ISBN
067402477X (v. 1 : alk. paper), 9780674024779 (v. 1 : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, c2007-
isbn
067402477X (v. 1 : alk. paper)
9780674024779 (v. 1 : alk. paper)
contents note
v. 1. The early Chinese empires: Qin and Han / Mark Edward Lewis.
catalogue key
6087448
 
Includes bibliographical refrences.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-02-01:
This first book in a six-volume series on the early Chinese empires explores an innovative way to tell the story of a succession of four Chinese regimes--Qin, Western Han, Xin, and Eastern Han--in a span of more than four centuries (221 BCE-220 CE). In slightly more than 300 pages, Lewis (Stanford) attempts to deal with a host of important aspects of society, including geography, state government, urbanism, countryside, international relations, ethnicity, kinship, ritual, religion, literature, and law. The author is at his most effective when he analyzes various complex thematic issues in a seemingly simple way. By deliberately refraining from including a host of Chinese proper names, Lewis keeps the flow of the text unencumbered, which will make the volume more palatable to general readers. A greater emphasis on chronology, however, would perhaps have given more clarity to the narrative and benefited the uninitiated undergrad who uses it as a textbook. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. V. C. Xiong Western Michigan University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2007-04-01:
The standard multivolume history of China has long been the magisterial, exhaustive Cambridge History of China. Now Harvard University Press has announced a six-volume series that will cover the rise, development, and decline of dynastic China from the second century B.C.E. through the early 20th century in an up-to-date, compact, and approachable way. This opening volume by Lewis (Kwoh-Ting Lo Professor of Chinese culture, Stanford Univ.) foretells that the series will become the new gold standard, as the author explains in clear and telling detail how the Qin dynasty ruthlessly defeated a succession of rivals to unify briefly what we now call China in 221 B.C.E. We then see how the succeeding Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) combined social engineering and political savvy to institutionalize control and form a "classical" era parallel to the Greeks and Romans in the West. Han imperial structures, including religion, literature, and law, were quite different from what evolved out of them, but Lewis convincingly argues that later societies cannot be understood without understanding this classical foundation. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
As the first volume in the History of Imperial China, The Early Chinese Empires sets an authoritative, reliable tone that bodes well for this important new series. The book meets a high standard of historical accuracy and covers an impressively broad range of topics. Accessible to a wide audience, it will appeal to anyone interested in the foundations of the Chinese imperial tradition.
The standard multivolume history of China has long been the magisterial, exhaustive Cambridge History of China. Now Harvard University Press has announced a six-volume series that will cover the rise, development, and decline of dynastic China from the second century B.C.E. through the early 20th century in an up-to-date, compact, and approachable way. This opening volume by Lewis foretells that the series will become the new gold standard, as the author explains in clear and telling detail how the Qin dynasty ruthlessly defeated a succession of rivals to unify briefly what we now call China in 221 B.C.E. We then see how the succeeding Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) combined social engineering and political savvy to institutionalize control and form a 'classical' era parallel to the Greeks and Romans in the West. Han imperial structures, including religion, literature, and law, were quite different from what evolved out of them, but Lewis convincingly argues that later societies cannot be understood without understanding this classical foundation.
This series on China, brilliantly overseen by Timothy Brook, is a credit to Harvard University Press. Above all, it encourages us to think of China in different ways.
Early Chinese Empires is a brilliant example of nuanced, responsible popularization. As the first in a series of six volumes that will cover all of Imperial China, it sets a very high standard.
Inaugurating a six-volume series on the history of imperial China, this volume holds that characteristics of the first Chinese empire broadly endured for the succeeding 2,000 years...[Those] planning to acquire the entire series mustn't omit Lewis' solid foundation.
Mark Lewis's mind-opening and readable book reminds us of the enduring but changing realities of China.
The standard multivolume history of China has long been the magisterial, exhaustive "Cambridge History of China," Now Harvard University Press has announced a six-volume series that will cover the rise, development, and decline of dynastic China from the second century B.C.E. through the early 20th century in an up-to-date, compact, and approachable way. This opening volume by Lewis foretells that the series will become the new gold standard, as the author explains in clear and telling detail how the Qin dynasty ruthlessly defeated a succession of rivals to unify briefly what we now call China in 221 B.C.E. We then see how the succeeding Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) combined social engineering and political savvy to institutionalize control and form a 'classical' era parallel to the Greeks and Romans in the West. Han imperial structures, including religion, literature, and law, were quite different from what evolved out of them, but Lewis convincingly argues that later societies cannot be understood without understanding this classical foundation.
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, April 2007
Library Journal, April 2007
Choice, February 2008
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'The Early Chinese Empires' illuminates many formative events in China's long history of imperialism - events whose residual influence can still be discerned today.
Main Description
In 221 bc the First Emperor of Qin unified the lands that would become the heart of a Chinese empire. Though forged by conquest, this vast domain depended for its political survival on a fundamental reshaping of Chinese culture. With this informative book, we are present at the creation of an ancient imperial order whose major features would endure for two millennia. The Qin and Han constitute the "classical period" of Chinese history--a role played by the Greeks and Romans in the West. Mark Edward Lewis highlights the key challenges faced by the court officials and scholars who set about governing an empire of such scale and diversity of peoples. He traces the drastic measures taken to transcend, without eliminating, these regional differences: the invention of the emperor as the divine embodiment of the state; the establishment of a common script for communication and a state-sponsored canon for the propagation of Confucian ideals; the flourishing of the great families, whose domination of local society rested on wealth, landholding, and elaborate kinship structures; the demilitarization of the interior; and the impact of non-Chinese warrior-nomads in setting the boundaries of an emerging Chinese identity. The first of a six-volume series on the history of imperial China, The Early Chinese Empires illuminates many formative events in China's long history of imperialism--events whose residual influence can still be discerned today.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Geography of Empirep. 5
A State Organized for Warp. 30
The Paradoxes of Empirep. 51
Imperial Citiesp. 75
Rural Societyp. 102
The Outer Worldp. 128
Kinshipp. 155
Religionp. 178
Literaturep. 206
Lawp. 227
Conclusionp. 253
Dates and Usagep. 267
Acknowledgmentsp. 270
Notesp. 271
Bibliographyp. 292
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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