China Book Reviews: Chinese History
Kublai Khanby John Man
Immortalised by the poet Coleridge, a confidant and friend of the adventurer Marco Polo, the 13th century Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, created one of the largest empires in history stretching from China to Iraq, from Siberia to Afghanistan, covering 20% of the world's land area. It can be argued that it was Genghis Khan who created the territorial base for China's eventual rise to global economic super power in this century. The author John Man has traveled extensively in the area of Kublai Khan's conquests and his eye for detail brings to life this fascinating study of one of the world's most powerful ever men.
The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Hanby Mark Edward Lewis
The first volume in a projected six-volume survey of imperial Chinese history. This book introduces the early Qin and Han dynasties. These first Chinese empires built up political institutions and ideologies that would become standard over the following centuries: the construction of a unified, pacified state focused on the Emperor as the symbol of ultimate power and authority and the development of a professional military to protect the empire's vast borders. The book also charts the gradual emergence of a landed gentry with a stake in the new regime and the development of a professional bureaucracy chosen on merit at the service of the new, centralizing state. A solid start to a long-awaited new series.