The Story of China: A portrait of a civilisation and its people

‘A learned, wise, wonderfully written single volume history of a civilisation that I knew I should know more about’ Tom Holland ‘Masterful and engrossing…well-paced, eminently readable and well-timed. A must-read for those who want and need to know about the China of yesterday, today and tomorrow’ Peter Frankopan

Chinas story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic. Now Michael Wood, one of the UK’s pre-eminent historians, brings it all together in a major new one-volume history of China that is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand its burgeoning role in our world today.

China is the oldest living civilisation on earth, but its history is still surprisingly little known in the wider world. Michael Wood’s sparkling narrative, which mingles the grand sweep with local and personal stories, woven together with the authors own travel journals, is an enthralling account of Chinas 4000-year-old tradition, taking in life stationed on the Great Wall or inside the Forbidden City. The story is enriched with the latest archaeological and documentary discoveries; correspondence and court cases going back to the Qin and Han dynasties; family letters from soldiers in the real-life Terracotta Army; stories from Silk Road merchants and Buddhist travellers, along with memoirs and diaries of emperors, poets and peasants.

In the modern era, the book is full of new insights, with the electrifying manifestos of the feminist revolutionaries Qiu Jin and He Zhen, extraordinary eye-witness accounts of the Japanese invasion, the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao, and fascinating newly published sources for the great turning points in Chinas modern history, including the Tiananmen Square crisis of 1989, and the new order of President Xi Jinping.

A compelling portrait of a single civilisation over an immense period of time, the book is full of intimate detail and colourful voices, taking us from the desolate Mongolian steppes to the ultra-modern world of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It also asks what were the forces that have kept China together for so long? Why was China overtaken by the west after the 18th century? What lies behind Chinas extraordinary rise today?The Story of China tells a thrilling story of intense drama, fabulous creativity and deep humanity; a portrait of a country that will be of the greatest importance to the world in the twenty-first century.
One of the world’s oldest civilisations and the longest lasting state, China’s story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic, stretching back thousands of years. In our time, after a century and a half of foreign invasion, civil war and revolution, China has once more returned to centre stage in the world, a global superpower and as of 2016, the world’s second largest economy. But in order to understand the great significance of China today, we must begin with its history. It is only when we look at China that we can become exactly aware of our own identity, and that we can begin to perceive which part of our heritage truly pertains to universal humanity, and which merely reflects Western idiosyncrasies. In other words, to understand the story of humanity is impossible without China. Michael Wood takes a fresh look at Chinese history in the light of the  current massive changes inside the country, and how its people and leaders see their place in the world, and its place on the world stage. As President Xi Jinping put it: Mao unified China, Deng Xiaoping began the process to make it wealthy; now under Xi , as was proclaimed at the Congress of October 2017, China has also regained its power.
The Story of China, researched and written by one of the UK’s pre-eminent historians, is a single-volume history told in a new way: mingling a grand sweep narrative with deep-core, local, personal stories – all woven together with landscape history and the author’s own travel journals.

Title: The Story of China: A portrait of a civilisation and its people
ISBN: 1471191397
Date Published:
Pages: 588
Alternate description: Amazon

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