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The Civilization of China (English Edition) par [Giles, Herbert Allen]
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Longueur : 159 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Book Description

The Chinese people reverence above all things literature and learning; they hate war, bearing in mind the saying of Mencius, "There is no such thing as a righteous war; we can only assert that some wars are better than others;" and they love trade and the finesse of the market-place. China can boast many great soldiers, in modern as well as in ancient days.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 371 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 159 pages
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  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0084ABT4E
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 3.8 étoiles sur 5 10 commentaires
57 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Now very out of date, and has its quirks, but worth a read. 11 octobre 2010
Par Dr. Tom - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I've been looking for a great single-volume history of China for a while now. This book isn't what I have been looking for, but it is worthy of mention, and I think it's worth a read.

H.A. Giles wrote this in the last years of the Qing Dynasty, the end of imperial rule (the preface is signed 1911, and the dynasty collapsed in 1912). That is a fascinating time to write a history of China (and also makes for interesting reading), but misses out all of the republic, the warlords, and of course the Communist Party.

I can't fault Giles for writing in the early 1900s, and in fact, maybe the end of the Qing Dynasty is a great stopping point for a first (concise) volume of China's history. But there are other reasons why I rated this 3 stars out of 5.

Why didn't I rate this higher? The early 20th century was an awkward time for westerners to write histories for non-western countries. Most writings of the time now sound patronizing, naive, or even xenophobic. I think H.A. Giles (professor of Chinese at Cambridge, and former British Consul in Ningpo) rates better than many of his contemporaries, and he attempts to dispel the most egregious stereotypes of the time, but even so, the text is anachronistic. Giles does his best to rise above the sexism and cultural elitism of the time, but at times it is awkward reading--and you sometimes doubt his observations because of it.

The sciences of archaeology and anthropology weren't as advanced or rigorous then, and that also shows. Giles bases much of his conclusions on hearsay or his personal experiences in what was already one of the world's largest and most populous countries. Although he does challenge and sometimes discredits a number of myths and legends, the lack of scientific or statistical rigor again make it hard to accept some of his generalizations.

As an example of another western history of China from about the same era (well, 1935), there is also Will Durant's "Our Oriental Heritage," the first of his volumes on The Story of Civilization. The title has a patronizing ring, but due to either Durant's outlook, and/or the passage of 20 years, Durant manages to present a much more balanced view of the history of China, and does a better job of identifying the broader changes that occurred throughout China's recorded history. The China-focused part of Durant's book, although old and also slightly anachronistic, still ranks as my favorite single-volume history of China.

So those are the negatives. Why read this?

Because H.A. Giles liked China, liked the people of China, and (I think) he had fun writing this book. He came across as fluent in Chinese reading and writing (he makes references to many conversations with locals, and comments on puns and jokes that don't quite translate). The narrative often digresses from its historical narrative, but that's because Giles had a fun anecdote or observation to add.

Don't read this as an authoritative history of China. Instead, read it as a personal narrative from an on-the-ground westerner who was there for the end of the imperial era, and had lived there long enough to really appreciate the country and the people. This is a great read, just as a time capsule from the era.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 1911 classic by brilliant British diplomat and Sinologist. 31 août 2014
Par Hans Olaf - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Classic on China from 1911 by a brilliant British diplomat and master of the Chinese language. Chiles translated many classics into English, conveying nuances that only someone of his own rich background could have understood. Look him up on Wikipedia. I have a few of his original hardbound works, but I really appreciate being able to read them on my pad, PC and smartphone with the free Kindle software--being able to search easily through hundreds of pages, take notes, make bookmarks, and cut and paste (with the latest update of the free Kindle software).
4.0 étoiles sur 5 but I do like the well described "China before 1905" 12 juillet 2014
Par Hey Mumser - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I'm presently only a third of the way through the reading of this book, but I do like the well described "China before 1905"....Describing the vast geography of China in that era will surprise many readers who see China in the "modern sense" of the 21st century.... Very good reading.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 China survives 15 avril 2014
Par Robin - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Very good history told by a non Chinese...a good basic history...I find it unfortunate that in becoming modernized to suit the Western world, China lost so much of her authentic self. But China survives and continues to "dig up" her past...thank goodness!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Love it 9 octobre 2014
Par Pamela Jones - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I'm intrigued with Asia and especially China.
Wonderful, delightful read.
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