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China: A New History [Paperback]

JK Fairbank , Merle Goldman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 21.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2006
John King Fairbank was the West's doyen on China, and this book is the full and final expression of his lifelong engagement with this vast ancient civilisation. It remains a masterwork without parallel. The distinguished historian Merle Goldman brings the book up to date, covering reforms in the post-Mao period through the early years of the 21st Century, including the leadership of Hu Jintao. She also provides an epilogue discussing the changes in contemporary China that will shape the nation in the years to come.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 2nd Revised edition (7 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674018281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674018280
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Manages to tell its sprawling, turbulent, 4,000-year story in a single volume without either losing clarity or oversimplifying its subject...Rich and fascinating. -- Arnold R. Isaacs San Francisco Chronicle Will serve for decades to come as a standard reference and textbook. -- Robert L. Worden Washington Post Book World

About the Author

John King Fairbank was Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and Director of the East Asian Research Center at Harvard University. Merle Goldman is Professor Emeritus of Chinese History, Boston University

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid introduction to Chinese history 19 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the revised edition of Fairbank and Goldman's introduction to Chinese history since the Neolithic.
It is neatly divided into 4 sections: (1) The rise and consolidation of the various Chinese empires up to 1660; (2) The late Imperial era, 1600-1911; (3) The Republic of China, 1911-1949 and (4) The PRC (and Taiwan), 1949 to the mid 1990s. An introductory chapter develops the recurrent themes of Chinese history - geography, humanity in nature, village, family, lineage, settlement vs. the steppe etc.
The book is well supported by references for further reading and research.
Overall, I would recommend it for use by advanced undergraduates, exceptional senior high school students, or the well-read general reader.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid, if pedestrian 24 Jun 2011
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
You can get a lot out of this book as a basic introduction to Chinese civilization if you are willing to slog through it. It is clearly written and covers the essential facts, but it lacks taste and deep interpretation. In others words, it can be studied but should not be read for pleasure or even intellectual stimulation. I used it to complete certain gaps in my knowledge of Chinese history, which was necessary and useful, but it just feels so academic and pedantic. Maybe that is what must happen in most general survey introductions like this one: it is stripped down so far that it cut not just fat but muscle and bone. In contrast, "The Search for Modern China" by J. Spence is a work of art as well as history, and constantly stimulates the reader to probe deeper, farther, opening a world. Unfortunately, Fairbank and Goldman accomplished none of that.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In brilliant condition 16 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn't expect much as it was tagged as an acceptable used book with marginal marks inside. It turns out, however, to be a brand new book with just a slight sign of wearing on the outside. The delivery is excellent as well. Received just four days after ordering. Very good!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History; Great Writing 26 Oct 2003
By events3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This, along with Wing-Tsit Chan's A SOURCE BOOK IN CHINESE PHILOSOPHY provided my first serious look at Chinese culture.
Fairbank's CHINA details the development of China from earliest times through the Tiananmen massacre: Xia & Shang, Zhou, the Spring and Autumn period, the Warring States period, the Qin Unification, the Han dynasty, disintegration, the subsequent rise of Sia and Tang dynasties, disintegration and the rise of the Song, the Northern and Southern Song along with the development of the kingdoms and empires of the Mongols who slowly conquered China, the Ming dynasty that expelled the Mongols, the Manchurian Qing dynasty that conquered all China and ruled until China became a Republic, Sun Yatsen, Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kaishek), fascism and communism, the rise of Mao and the Nationalist flight to Taiwan, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and Deng Xiaphing (Dong Zai-phong).
Of special interest are discussions on the rise of Confucianism, Daoism, Chinese Buddhism and Christian in-roads created by missionaries; the respective roles of Legalism, early imperial Confucianism and neo-Confucianism in the formation and evolution of the Chinese state; the horrors and extent of foot-binding among Chinese women; the influence of both communists and fascists in the Guomindang party and the open conflict between the "blue shirt" fascists (formed by Chiang Kaishek) and the Communist party; and the role of the USSR and Comintern in the development and organization of Communism in China (originally in the Guomindang and later in the Chinese Communist Party).
Thought-provoking and interesting, the book does suffer from infrequent flaws such as irrelevant personal attacks (e.g., Reaganesque = simple-minded) and giving too little details in some areas. Despite these (and the fact that the author once thought Maoisim the greatest thing to happen in China for centuries), anyone interested in Chinese history cannot afford to pass up this important work.
It should also be noted that the earlier edition's last chapter was replaced by essays from other authors in the revised addition.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good history for non-scholars 1 Sep 2001
By Phillip J. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am not a scholar of Chinese history. I just wanted to know more about the culture. I found the book to be very enjoyable. The topic was too broad for the book to spend much time in any detail of the subject. The book is well reasoned and excellent for those of us that want to know the basics about Chinese history. For those that read the other reviewer comments, bear in mind that the book covers Chinese history for prehistoric time to present day. Any commentary about US policy occurs in the very tail end. The book does do a good job contrasting the Chinese outlook to the western viewpoint.
91 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid, but pedestrian 8 April 2001
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
You can get a lot out of this book as a basic introduction to Chinese civilization if you are willing to slog through it. It is clearly written and covers the essential facts, but it lacks taste and deep interpretation. In others words, it can be studied but should not be read for pleasure or even intellectual stimulation. I used it to complete certain gaps in my knowledge of Chinese history, which was necessary and useful, but it just feels so academic and pedantic. Maybe that is what must happen in most general survey introductions like this one: it is stripped down so far that it cut not just fat but muscle and bone. In contrast, "The Search for Modern China" by J. Spence is a work of art as well as history, and constantly stimulates the reader to probe deeper, farther, opening a world. Unfortunately, Fairbank and Goldman accomplished none of that.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, Painfully Dry 3 May 2000
By Peter McNulty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book certainly provides a complete chronology of China's political, military, and economic history, but it is like dry wheat toast - good for you, but not very enjoyable. In places, the authors themselves seem uninterested in the subject. For example, the end of thousands of years of imperial rule is dispensed in one paragraph - no discussion. Personally, I wish I had bought a different book.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to China 27 Mar 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Specialists in Chinese history and culture will not learn anything from this book. But that's not why it was written. Westerners are very ignorant of Chinese history, and this book is a good introduction to the big themes in China--government and protest, economic development and poverty, the influence of the West, education, and more. For example, the mistrust of China's government of Falun Gong is much more understandable when you know about the earlier religion-based revolutions and civil wars in Chinese history, which I'm sure the President of the United States is not aware of, despite his well-meaning platitudes about freedom of religion. I enjoyed this book greatly and reread portions often.
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