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Paperback A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations Book

ISBN: 0155055690

ISBN13: 9780155055698

A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations

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Book Overview

A brief introductory text that emphasises cultural history while also covering political and economic history. Chapters are brief and each major Chinese dynasty, Japanese Shogunate, or other discrete period is treated in a separate chapter. Chapters or groups of chapters on China or Japan alternate. Encounters with the West, beginning in the 16th and expanding greatly in the 19th century, are extensively covered.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

A very thorough survey of Chinese and Japanese history

This book was specifically recommened to me by a Professor at the University of Texas as a fantastic "starter" on Chinese history. A fantastic read, this college text introduces the reader to Asian civilization in a way that provides information on both the history of Japan and China, as well as a very in-depth look at the cultures which grew out of this history. As Dr. Shirokauer clearly states in his introduction, this book serves as a survey in order to give the reader a general idea on the key aspects (both historically and culturally) of both the Japenese and Chinese civilizations. Weighing in at around 650 pages, this book is a massive undertaking in historical scholarship and provides a fantastic opportunity for the reader to gain a full understanding of Asia, while still leaving the reader thirsty for more at the end. Luckily, a thorough explanations of sources and a very large additional reading section provide avenues for those interested in Asian history to pursue specific topics. For China, this story focuses around the various dynasties which ruled that country for so long. Beginning with the most early archealogical findings available for China and continuining through the Zhou, Song, Tang, Ming, etc... For Japan, the focus centers around the central administration of Kyoto until the creation of the Shogun and the rise in prominence of Edo (located at present-day Tokyo). One aspect of this work which so distinguishes it from other college texts on these civilizations is it's focus on the cultural aspects of these two civilizations. The author covers the evolution of art in all forms, everyday living, architecture, and religion in as detailed a fashion as he explains their history. In this way, the reader is able to see a very detailed cultural progression that stands out due to the fact that most history books only pay minor lip service to the importance of culture in a society. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about a part of the world that is quickly catching up with it's Western neighbors. As countries like China and Korea begin to frequent more and more national headlines, it is important to understand the key aspects which differentiate it from the West. Not only will this knowledge better inform you of how these people live, but it will provide you with a historical perspective that explains how they got there in the first place.

Art, Literature, Religion-- fully interdisciplinary

I am Prof. of Interdisciplinary Humanities at San Francisco State and this has been classroom book of choice. Perhaps book's title should have been "a CULTURAL history of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations." A good 1/3 to 1/2 of each chapter is art, architecture, religion. For instance, "Tokugawa Japan," after four history sections, includes sections on "The Japanese Print... The Popular Theater: Kabuki and Bunraku... Popular Prose Literature... Haiku... Art and Lit after Genroku... Intellectual currents...." Pages are studded with apt illustrations. Undergrads liked though thought it pricey, but it replaced history and art books both.

Schirokauer Thorough & Entertaining

As a professor of Asian History, I have found that this text is invaluable as a learning tool for hundreds of students. It thoroughly grounds the reader in the history of Asia. Schirokauer uses narrative and analytical thinking to present Asian History in an accessible and digestible format. The book offers an essential body of information about a massive geographic area that is as diverse as it is fascinating. Each section thoroughly reviews key historical trends in a style that is interesting and a genuine good read.
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