Read China: Its History and Culture by W. Scott Morton Charlton M. Lewis Online


" A wonderful job! So lucid, beautfully written, with great range and insight. This will set a new standard for short general histories of China. "" Michael Gasster, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University"Newly updated and revised, China: Its History and Culture, Fourth Edition, incorporates the crucial social and economic changes that have taken place in Chin" A wonderful job! So lucid, beautfully written, with great range and insight. This will set a new standard for short general histories of China. "" Michael Gasster, professor emeritus of history at Rutgers University"Newly updated and revised, China: Its History and Culture, Fourth Edition, incorporates the crucial social and economic changes that have taken place in China over the last decade. Through rich detail and engaging illustrations, the book traces China s history from Neolithic times to the present day."...

Title : China: Its History and Culture
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780071412797
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

China: Its History and Culture Reviews

  • Diana Marie
    2019-03-06 04:45

    This is a brief and wonderfully thorough book on the history of China. It is very organized, providing a logical structure and timeline to the history - and how it inspired Chinese cultural traditions. Not all history books are as clear and engaging to read as this book, while still maintaining depth.

  • Tim
    2019-03-23 02:30

    This is a solid one volume survey of Chinese history and the development of its culture. If that is what you are looking for, then you probably will not be disappointed. In 300 pages Morton and Lewis cover the major events, epochs, and upheavals that have taken place in the over 2000 years of one of the world's oldest and biggest cultures. What most surprised me was how bloody and colorful so much of it was. For a reader who learned only American history in his youth, and then some European history in college, the history and cultures of Asia have always been something exotic and unfairly ignored. Here are tales of emperors, concubines, eunuchs, weird religious movements, civil wars, and massive uprisings (China has had a number of these, and I now understand better the reasons why its leaders are so concerned about controlling information and social movements.) The writing is a little dry, but it does not get stuffy or boring. There are segments on art, literature, philosophy, and religion, but the majority of the book is spent on politics, power, and conflicts. There were a number of dynasties in Chinese history, most of them resulting from the defeat of a previous empire by an outlying, sometimes foreign group. The Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368) was the result of a victory by Genghis Khan's Mongolian forces, and the rulers of the last dynasty, the Qing, were Manzhou people from the northeast hinterlands. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was founded by a revolt led by an orphaned beggar who became the Emperor Hong Wu. Interestingly, these different groups usually settled in and began ruling China in the same ways, with a large and powerful bureaucracy whose roots go back to at least the 700s. The current Communist rulers are no exception to this tradition, and for centuries the way to make it in China has been to be accepted into the elites by virtue of success in very competitive examinations. More attention is paid to the history of the last 200 years or so, as the Western nations began to encroach on China, which led to wars and related social disasters, such as the Opium Wars, in which the British fought to preserve the right to traffic large quantities of addictive opium to the Chinese. Other nations too grabbed pieces of the Chinese pie, particularly the Japanese, who eventually sought to rule the entire nation. The 1850s brought the Taiping Rebellion, led by a charismatic, Christian-influenced messianic leader. This was followed by the Boxer Rebellion in the 1890s, another misguided commoners' struggle that resulted in more disaster for the Chinese people and leadership. Attention is paid to the Empress Dowager Cixi, a former concubine and the sometimes cruel and murderous de facto ruler of the country for many years, whose refusal to accept change resulted in the ultimate downfall of the monarchy. They were followed by the first Chinese republic, a right-wing government led first by Sun Yatsen and then Jiang Jieshi (aka Chiang Kaishek), whose rule was marred by corruption and war, and who were ultimately overthrown by Mao Zedong and the Communists. The book finishes with an overview of the Communist era and some of its horrors, like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and of more recent trends and struggles, such as the democracy movement that was crushed by the authorities in 1989.It is hard not to see the tragedy in much of this, and also to see why China was ripe for the indigenous peasant revolution that ultimately triumphed. Americans certainly viewed the defeat of the Nationalists by the Communists and the closing of China to the West as a tragedy. But it is interesting to see China today, with its one party Communist rule, but lots of free enterprise, interaction, and trade with other nations, and wonder if things would have turned out more or less the same if the Nationalists had won. Mao is still presented as the great father figure and liberator whose face adorns every piece of currency, but today's China reflects more the ideas of the more liberal Deng Xiaoping, who led China's re-opening to the world. Above it all stands Kong Fu Zi (Confucius) the great Chinese philosopher who has no parallel in the West, and whose views on family, integrity, loyalty, and social order continue to be the bedrock of Chinese society.

  • Galicius
    2019-02-26 00:52

    The Chinese history is a challenge and a bewildering labyrinth. The reason is probably the huge size of China in people and land as well as the 4000 years of its history. I didn’t bother with committing any of the names into memory. It’s far more complex than any history I read. The last 100 pages are from the formation of communist party in the 1920 to 1985. I didn’t expect so much warfare and misery of the common people. No wonder it was a fruitful field for the communists. Russia was also seriously involved in giving support to the communists. It’s a textbook though and it’s hard to read. It’s just crammed with names and facts and goes lightly over incredible events and periods. I don’t think I would want to delve any deeper into this miasma. Chinese painting is unique in that a painter has to do it perfectly with each stroke because he is painting on an absorbent surface and cannot correct what he did. Calligraphy is closely tied in Chinese art. There is an interesting description of the Mongol horde. Their idea of destroying a city was to leave it so flattened that a horse going through it at night would not stumble on a single brick. They made felt from wool and lived in tents, which could be transported assembled on giant carts drawn by 20 pairs of oxen. They officers of the horde had 25 to 40 wives with children.

  • Ebookwormy1
    2019-03-24 00:50

    Trying to understand modern China? China: It's History and Culture by W. Scott Morton covers 6,000 years of Chinese history in under 300 pages with a focus on emergent themes that impact China today. Covering geography, philosophy, art, government, and culture this broad sweep approach flies over China's ancient history, flying lower and giving more detail as it approaches present times.Although it is concise, I found myself stopping to get more information about certain people or events, which lengthened my reading time considerably. But I liked the independent exploration and the ability to move through events of which I was already aware more quickly.I found this account to be an excellent resource and reference that I would highly recommend.If you want to season your non-fiction with some fiction salt, explore Chinese literature with a short book of fairy tales...Chinese Fairy Tales, Martens, 1998 (translation), see Pearl Buck's expansive triology, which features the lives of three Chinese generations. Book #1 is:The Good Earth, Buck, 1931

  • Aaron
    2019-03-11 03:45

    This is easily the best book I've come across on Chinese history and culture, and probably the best book I've found on any history or culture. In about 300 pages, there is a vast amount of dense information here, which is why it took me so long to make it through (one year now). That being said, Morton writes in an easy, straightforward prose, using colorful, but not difficult, language. He has a real talent for finding just the right word or just the right metaphor to get the point across. He does an excellent job at covering all the most notable and familiar aspects of Chinese history, but also identifies trends and clarifies misconceptions along the way. Morton is a real master of relating the importance of various key events and how they relate. Perhaps it's a bit much to say that reading this book is a journey in itself, but it was certainly enjoyable and educational throughout. If you're interested in Chinese culture, Asia, sociology, cultural anthropology, economics, politics, Chinese history, or history of any kind, you should pick up a copy at some point and see for yourself.

  • Kimberly
    2019-03-24 07:37

    For a mere 285 pages, this history of Chinese development and culture is impressive. It begins briefly with the origination of man in this Eastern part of the world and progresses through each phase, dynasty, and later Communist leader. Focusing on the moments that informed later events, the authors help give a better understanding of the Chinese people and their religious, political, and social practices. I definitely have a better grasp on why the Chinese are so drastically different from the Western peoples and am left pondering given similar circumstances would the West have turned out the same. To that end, the authors give brief details about the West at each major turning point in Chinese history, noting, for example, the Chinese early invention of paper and the correlation in time of Confucius and Plato. Reaching as far forward as 2003, this history brings you up to speed on everything high school or college history failed to cover.This history is perfect for anyone preparing a trip to China who wants to increase their knowledge base or even for better understanding the popular historical fiction by Lisa See, Amy Tan, or their contemporaries.

  • 周婉蓮 차우 크리스티나 Cass
    2019-03-26 07:25

    (As posted on my blog, Pneumatised!)I finally got around to finish reading China: Its History and Culture by W. Scott Morton and Charlton M. Lewis. It's a good overview of the history of China. I picked up this book for two reasons. One was for the overview of key events in China's history. The second reason was because I wanted to know how the history affected Chinese culture. For each era (or dynasty, in most of the cases), this book does a good job of presenting key historic events and discussing aspects of the culture. The only drawback to this book is that the second half of the book is devoted to events in the 20 century leading up to the new millennium. This might have been unavoidable though since we know more about recent historic events than we do about events in the distant past. Overall though, this book gives the reader a good idea of how China came to be the country it is today. After finishing this book, the reader should have a good sense of the character of China.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-23 00:37

    This is a well written and easily read survey of Chinese history. I learned quite a bit about culture and history from this book, and this will certainly serve as a jumping-off point for other, like-minded subjects. My one criticism is that there were not enough maps to make sense of the geography, which is diverse and important to China's history.As an introductory text, this is one of the better ones I have read. For those who have some extensive background, this book may not add much, but for a novice in Chinese history like myself, I found it to be quite informative.

  • Bryan
    2019-03-08 02:47

    This book is frustrating in that the entire thrust of Chinese history prior to 1800 is glossed over. This first half of the book is like an overview of an overview, where hundreds of years pass in mere paragraphs and as much energy is spent on contrasting art styles as on the main events of each period. The second half of the book covering the modern period is exactly what I was looking for from the rest of the book, and is worth reading.

  • Michael
    2019-03-14 07:32

    For only being 300 Pages, this book covers a lot of ground and does it well. A nice launching off point to deeper study. I think the focus on culture at times was very useful. This book probably presents the best explanation on the 3 big Chinese religious traditions and how that translates to modern times. This is still a history book, so slow reading at times.

  • Frank Cardenas
    2019-03-15 00:37

    An interestting journey through the enigmatic China that anybody thinking of visiting or working there should make. It will help you understand more about their people, history and culture so that you find a more credible argument than that of TIC: This Is China! Sorry, but I gather that those who have lived there would actually understand me.

  • Brian
    2019-03-20 02:27

    This book was helpful, if a little dull in giving me a good overview of Chinese history. It was by a Christian missionary, but he's quite objective in the best sense of the term.

  • Rob Roy
    2019-03-11 08:26

    Great survey of Chinese history

  • Nadia Kim
    2019-03-01 08:33

    Book was great for my research as I was writing for a new series.

  • Laura
    2019-03-18 00:45

    China: Its History and Culture by Scott W. Morton (1995)