A biography of Confucius is always problematic. Not that long ago in China, Confucius, after thousands of years of veneration, was blamed for the social collapse of China and all the ills such a collapse entails. The old sage is now popular again, and the Mainland Chinese government is encouraging the building of Confucian temples throughout the world, primarily to teach the Chinese language. Clements accesses the extant Chinese texts already translated into English, and pieces together a reliable narrative for the life of Confucius (551-479BC). This is not a long book, the hardback 2004 edition contains just 136 numbered pages. There are 6 chapters excluding the Introduction, Chronology and maps, etc:
1. Ancestry and Early Life.
2. Scholar and Teacher.
3. Editor and Recluse.
4. Statesman and Minister.
The text, although relatively brief, is logical in its presentation. Throughout the biography, Clements inserts aphorisms from The Analects (Lun Yu), thus providing the general reader with access to part of the written philosophy of Confucius. A good introduction to the life and teachings of the old sage.