One of the most far-reaching political events since the Second World war is the re-emergence of China as a world power. In the near two decades since Chairman Mao's death, China has been opening up the once most secret and oldest surviving civilisation to the rest of the world. This comprehensive cultural history, ranging from prehistoric times to the present, examines major trends and key individuals that have shaped China's incredible history. From the disunity of pre-imperial China to the renaissance of the Tang and Sung dynasties, from the Mongol conquest to the 1989 student revolt that rocked the people's republic, the quality of each era is captured by concentrating attention on Chinese customs, beliefs and institutions. By placing the modern country that is China today in historical perspective, this fascinating study shows us how many continuities there are - despite periods of unrest and dissension - within this great and enduring civilisation.
Arthur Cotterell was principal of Kingston College. His previous books include The Minoan World, The Penguin Encyclopaedia of Ancient Civilizations, The Pimlico Dictionary of Classical Mythologies- Greece, Rome, Persia, India and China, and Chariot- The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine.