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3.6 out of 5 stars
Confucius
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
It may be really unfair-- I know the author doesn't read Chinese and is just intending to give a popular version of Confucius's life; but I stopped reading this book at page xii in the Preface when she writes: "Some of the best-known commentaries [on the Confucian Analects] were written by later disciples such as Mencius (in Chinese Mozi, c. 372-289 B.C.)...."

Mencius is Mengzi 孟子 (ca 372-289 BCE) in Chinese. Mozi (墨子, ca 470-391 BC) is a completely different person. Both of them are very famous. This is the equivalent of mixing up Aristotle and Plato. How could I trust anything else this author says?
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Confucius by Meher McArthur, Quercus, 2011, 254 ff

The author of this book is a specialist in Asian culture and she was formerly Curator of East Asian Art at the Pacific Asia Museum at Pasadena, California. Confucius, or Kung-fu tzu lived in the 6th century BCE and his teachings founded one of the great systems of practices and mystical beliefs in China. He was therefore roughly a contemporary of Lao-tzu, whose school established the philosophy of Taoism and created one of the great works of Asian literature, the Tao Te Ching. Confucius' other great spiritual near contemporary was Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who was born in India.

Confucius was born into a humble background in what is now called the Shantung (or Shandong) province in Northeastern China, known today in the west for the quality of its silk. Although he travelled widely, Confucius is known for the system of moral philosophy that he taught to his disciples in his home state of Lu and which has been handed down to us today through the work known as `The Analects' or Lun Yu. The emphasis in his philosophy was on social responsibility - of parents to their children and equally of children to their parents if they became infirm - and on education in promoting these moral values.

No actual writings by Confucius have survived, but The Analects compiled by his students and successors reflect his philosophy; and McArthur deals with them in some detail throughout this book. There are chapters on Confucius' early life, his teachings, his followers, the years of wanderings, and the return to Lu.

Considering that details of the life of Confucius himself are scarce, this book gives an effective overview of the practices of the times in which he lived and of the people around him. At the end of the book there are several pages of Notes, a short Bibliography and a good Index.

Howard Jones is the author of The Tao of Holism
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on 29 July 2014
The book provides a brief biography of Confucius' life plus a general view of the some concepts of his philosophy and the impact of Confucianism on the culture of Asia. While the biography part is nice, the parts on philosophy (at beginning of book) and Asian cultures were rather weak and I did not take up much from them.
I think that the author has missed an opportunity to explain how from the political chaos of Confucius' day rose his framweork of philosophy. I unfortunately picked up only some concepts like how it is important to be human, to act according to one's social role (son/father/king, etc.) but these ideas are really scattered through the whole book. It is also repeatedly underlined that this or that idea is "the most important" according to Confucius, so one is left wondering which one really is THE most important and the core.
The book is probably fine as an introduction to Confucius for people like me. It would only benefit, though, if it would be trimmed by ~1/3 of the author's content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2014
This book i have only read just recently and i have found it to be most enticing it is a brilliant read and it tells more of the man himself then his Analects. Great read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2013
A good introduction to the subject, the style of the writer is a little repetitive. An introduction to Confucius for the beginner
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on 3 June 2013
Really loved it, easy to read and enlightened me on someone who I knew nothing about. What I loved was the approach by the author to mix history with his thought but in a way that was understandable.

If you want in depth info about him then I guess their is lots of other books out there but if you want an introduction. Perfect.
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on 23 June 2013
Very good reading
Gives the background and a lot og answers to todays China.
Recommended to all China fans who wants to know a little bit more
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
While it wasn't entirely clear from the site what I was buying (it's a biography of Confucius if you weren't sure) the book I received was what I hoped and presents the life of Confucius well.
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