Stephen G.Haw begins with the prehistoric civilisations of 4000 years ago, and from there to the centuries of China's silk trade. Some of the most significant inventions of the modern world were invented in China - paper, gunpowder and the magnetic compass. The author describes the glories of the Tang and Song dynasties which saw the creation of the great Chinese cities to the period of its decline and the efforts of Europe to subdue this giant land. It covers the tumult of the Chinese Revolution and the dramatic changes in political policies since the 1970s right up to the present day. It also looks at the handover of Hong Kong, the continuing difficulties of Taiwan and how China is emerging as the world's largest market. 'The author manages to get 2 million years into 300 pages - and he does it without gimmicks or colour pictures. An excellent addition to a series which is already invaluable. Whether you are travelling or not.' The Guardian 'In order to make the most of a visit to China such portable pocket-size guides as this are most useful.' The China Quarterly.
Stephen G.Haw read Chinese at Oxford and took an MA degree at London University. He first visited China in 1980 and was first a student and then a teacher at the University of Shandong. He frequently travels to China, often far off the beaten track. He speaks fluent Chinese and is currently writing A Traveller's History of Beijing.