Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Before European Hegemony. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. An overview of the Eurasian economic world before the age of Western exploration and expansion.
Bergere, Marie-Claire. Sun Yat-sen. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. The definitive biography of the Nationalist leader.
Bianco, Lucien. Origins of the Chinese Revolution, 1915-1949. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967. Bianco untangles the complex interaction of elite and mass politics from the warlord era through the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, tracing the ways in which the Chinese Communist Party addressed the felt needs of both peasants and intellectuals and provided leadership in the struggle to resist Japan and oppose Western domination.
Bol, Peter K. This Culture of Ours. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992. Traces the transformation of the shi elite from the Tang through the early Song and the ways in which this development led to a reconfiguration of Chinese intellectual culture.
Brook, Timothy. The Confusions of Pleasure. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. An economic and cultural history of the Ming dynasty, focusing on the tensions and social changes engendered by growth and prosperity through the 15th and 16lh centuries.
Chaffee, John W. The Thorny Gates of Learning in Sung China. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. In this work, Chaffee develops his analysis of the ways in which the imperial examination system became the central focus of elite culture from the Song dynasty through later imperial history.
Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. Surveys the development of Chinese civilization from Paleolithic times through the unification of China under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C.E.
Chen, Jo-shui. Liu Tsung-yuan and Intellectual Change in T’ang China, 773- 819. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Traces the life and intellectual career of one of the major proponents of guwen literary thought and the Confucian revival in the later Tang dynasty.
Chow, Tse-tsung. The May Fourth Movement. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960. A comprehensive account of the events of May 4, 1919, and the popular cultural and political movement that grew from them.
Cohen, Paul A., and John Schrecker. Reform in Nineteenth Century China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976. A collection of essays on many dimensions of reform, including social, economic, and cultural efforts, as well as the mainstream of political activity.
Crossley, Pamela Kyle. A Translucent Mirror. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. A study of the creation of the Manchus by Nurhaci and their subsequent rise to imperial power in China, with special attention to the ideology of Manchu rule over the empire.
Dardess, John. A Ming Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
A study of the local history of one county in Jiangxi province that provides a window on the complex social history of China from the 14th to the 17th centuries.
deBary, William Theodore, and Irene Bloom, eds. Sources of Chinese Tradition, vol. I. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. A massive compendium of original source material in translation. This volume provides direct access to the ideas and arguments that shaped China’s cultural development, from its origins through the 16th century.
Dien, Albert, ed. State and Society in Early Medieval China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990. A collection of essays on the complex and little studied period from the end of the Han through the Sui reunification, focusing on the social and cultural transformations that took place over these three and a half centuries.
Dirlik, Arif. Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. Traces the role of anarchist thought and the actions of early Chinese anarchists in the development of revolutionary movements in China in the early 20lh century.
Dreyer, Edward L. Early Ming China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1982. A political history of the establishment of the Ming dynasty and the reigns of the first five emperors, emphasizing the continuities with Mongol rule and the ways in which the early Ming differed from the dynasty’s later, more mature phase.
Endicott-West, Elizabeth. Mongolian Rule in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989. An examination of the workings of local administration under the Mongols, including the use of non-Chinese officials to staff many positions and limit the influence of the literati elite.
Esherick, Joseph W. Reform and Revolution in China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976. A study of the 1911 revolution that brought down the Qing dynasty, focusing on the events in Hunan and Hubei provinces, which were central to the outbreak and spread of radical activities.
_________. The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. Traces the background of the Boxer movement in rural Shandong province, with special emphasis on the social history of martial arts and secret societies.
Fingarette, Herbert. Confucius: The Secular as Sacred. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. A philosophical reflection on the Confucian concept of the nature of ritual and its role in social relationships. Fingarette is not a China scholar but approaches Confucius in a cross-cultural encounter that he believes can yield useful insights for the modern West.
Fitzgerald, John. Awakening China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. An analysis of the political and cultural programs of the Nationalist Party in the 1930s and their impact on society and government in a time of great change and upheaval.
Fong, Wen, ed. Beyond Representation. New Flaven: Yale University Press, 1992. An art history of the transformation of painting during the Song dynasty. Painting moved away from the direct representation of observed things and began to portray the inner patterns, the //, of Neo-Confucian thinking.
Gardner, Daniel K. Chu Hsi and the Ta-hsueh. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986. A discussion of Zhu Xi’s revision of the canon of Confucian texts in the 12,h century. Gardner uses Zhu Xi’s textual reorganization to explore his ideas on learning and the proper ordering of society, as well as his views on the origins of moral values.
Gernet, Jacques. Buddhism in Chinese Society. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. Despite the title, this is essentially an economic history of Buddhism in the Tang dynasty. The rise of monasteries as landholders became a major issue for imperial finances and was an important element in the Confucian critique of Buddhism in the 8lh and 9th centuries.
Gilley, Bruce. Tiger on the Brink. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. A biography of Jiang Zemin, China’s prime minister after 1989. Gilley explores Jiang’s career as a prototype of the new technocratic elite emerging as the rulers of China in the 21st century.
Goodman, Howard. Ts’ao P’i Transcendent. Seattle: Scripta Serica, 1998. A detailed study of the process of the founding of the Three Kingdom-era state of Wei in the early 220s. Goodman presents the political culture of this period through extensive study of the official rhetoric and actions of political and military leaders.
Hammond, Kenneth J., ed. The Human Tradition in Premodern China. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002. A collection of biographical essays on individuals from throughout Chinese history, ranging from a Shang royal consort to a Ming merchant, a legalist prime minister of the Qin to a Tang writer.
Hansen, Valerie. Changing Gods in Medieval China, 1127-1276. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Presents the effects of commercialization on the social and cultural history of the Southern Song dynasty through a study of the spread of religious cults by itinerant merchants.
Hartman, Charles. Han Yu and the T’ang Search for Unity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986. A biography and literary history of Han Yu and the guwen movement, with extensive translations of Han Yu’s writings. Provides both an insightful treatment of one Chinese intellectual and an overview of one of the most creative periods in Chinese history.
Hinton, William. Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. A fascinating firsthand account of the process ofland reform and rural revolution in a single village in northwest China in the late 1940s.
Hsu, Cho-yun, and Katheryn M. Linduff. Western Chou Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. An in-depth study of the archaeology and history of the Zhou dynasty from its founding around 1045 B.C.E. to the middle of the 8lh century B.C.E.
Huang, Ray. 1587: A Year of No Significance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981. Using a single year in the late Ming, Huang presents a detailed analysis of the workings of the imperial state and the tensions and challenges faced by officials in making and carrying out government policies.
Hymes, Robert P., and Conrad Schirokauer, eds. Ordering the World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. An anthology of essays on statecraft theory and practice in the Song dynasty, emphasizing the ways in which changes in Confucian thought were reflected in state policies.
Jing, Jun. The Temple of Memories. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
A study of the revival of the cult of Confucius in a village in northwest China in the 1990s, where collateral descendants of the sage rebuilt a temple destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Johnson, Chalmers. Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962. The classic analysis of how the Chinese Communist Party achieved widespread support among the peasants of northern China by leading the guerilla resistance to Japanese invasion.
Keightley, David N. The Ancestral Landscape. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 2000. Keightley is, perhaps, the leading expert on the oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang period, and in this book, he draws on a lifetime of study to present a synthetic portrait of Shang political culture.
Kuhn, Philip A. Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990. A case study of how the Qing dynasty dealt with popular unrest and insecurity during the reign of the Qianlong emperor. Kuhn presents the internal workings of the Qing bureaucracy clearly and situates them in the context of relat ions between the literate elite and broader mass society.
Lee, Hong Yong. The Politics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. A local history of the Cultural Revolution in Guangdong province in southern China, showing how the national political conflicts that sparked the movement intertwined with local realities.
Levathes, Louise. When China Ruled the Seas. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. A popular account of the voyages led by the eunuch Zheng He between 1405 and 1435, which took Chinese fleets throughout Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the east coast of Africa.
Lewis, Mark Edward. Sanctioned Violence in Early China. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990. Examines how forms of violence were incorporated into Chinese social and political life from the origins of Chinese states through the Han dynasty, showing how China was transformed from a network of “city states” into a unified territorial empire.
Liu, Xinru. Ancient India and Ancient China. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988. By exploring the trade and religious exchanges between these two ancient civilizations, Liu offers a basis for understanding the migration of Buddhism into China and for China’s ongoing interaction with the Indian realm.
Loewe, Michael, and Edward L. Shaughnessy, eds. The Cambridge History of Ancient China. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999. This monumental volume brings together definitive essays on the archaeology and history of China from the origins of civilization through the Qin unification in 221 B.C.E.
MacFarquhar, Roderick, ed. The Politics of China: The Eras of Mao and Deng. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997. An anthology of essays on the political history of China from 1949 through the early 1990s. Particular attention is given to the role of elite politics.
McNair, Amy. The Upright Brush. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1998. A study of the development of calligraphy as a major literati art form in the Song dynasty and of how models from the Tang were used to establish schools of theory and practice.
Meisner, Maurice. Mao’s China and After. New York: The Free Press, 1999. A comprehensive history of China from the late 1940s through the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Meisner situates elite political conflict in the broader context of China’s social and economic development.
Miyazaki, Ichisada. China’s Examination Hell. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981. A brief but thorough presentation of the imperial civil service examination system as it operated during the last 1,000 years of dynastic history.
Mote, Frederick W. Intellectual Foundations of China. New York: McGraw- Hill, 1989. A concise discussion of the main schools of thought emerging in Warring States China and the main thinkers associated with each of them.
Munro, Donald J. Images of Human Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. A biography ofZhu Xi that traces the development of key ideas in the formation of his Neo-Confucian thought, emphasizing the tension between family life and the state, which remains an important dimension of China’s contemporary political order.
Naquin, Susan, and Evelyn S. Rawski. Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. A social and economic portrait of China during an age of great achievements and impending changes and challenges.
Pearce, Scott, Audrey Shapiro, and Patricia Ebrey, eds. Culture and Power in the Reconstitution of the Chinese Realm. 200-600. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. A collection of essays exploring the complex social and economic history of the long period of disunity following the fall of the Han and encompassing the migration of Inner Asian peoples into northern China.
Perry, Elizabeth J. Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980. A local history of poverty and social unrest in northern Anhui and western Shandong provinces, which were the homelands of some of the main rebel movements of the later Qing dynasty, including the Boxer movement of the 1890s.
Polachek, James. The Inner Opium War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. A major study of the internal political debates and conflicts over how to deal with the opium problem among Chinese officials in the 1830s and 1840s. Reveals a great deal about the workings of the late imperial political system.
Ratchnevsky, Paul. Genghis Khan: His Life and Legacy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992. A biography of Temujin, the founder and first great leader of the Mongols during their age of expansion and conquest in the early 13,h century.
Roberts, Moss, trans. Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. One of the great classical Chinese novels, Three Kingdoms is tilled with the romance and adventure of this period of military glory and political frustration.
Rossabi, Morris, ed. China among Equals. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. A collection of essays on the interstate system of China and its neighbors from the 10lh through the 14lh centuries, when non-Chinese peoples ruled part, and sometimes all, of the territory usually considered China.
_________. Khubilai Khan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. A biography of the Mongol grandson of Chinggis Khan, who became the first alien ruler over all of China with the final conquest of the Southern Song in 1279. Khubilai was emperor of the Yuan dynasty until his death in 1296 and was host to Marco Polo during his years in China.
Salisbury, Harrison. The Long March. New York: Harper & Row, 1985. In the early 1980s, Salisbury set out to retrace the course of the epic journey of the Chinese Communists in 1934-1935. This book is the result of that effort and includes interviews with survivors and Salisbury’s own reflections on the endurance and heroism of the Long Marchers.
Saunders, J. J. The History of the Mongol Conquests. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971. An overview of the military campaigns that took the Mongols from the obscurity of the Inner Asian grasslands to near total domination of the Eurasian landmass in the course of the 13th century.
Schwartz, Benjamin. In Search of Wealth and Power. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964. A study of the life and thought of Yan Fu, one of the most important figures in the intellectual reform of China in the late 19м and early 20lh centuries.
_________. The World of Thought in Ancient China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985. A history and analysis of the main streams of thought in China down to the Han dynasty. Schwartz places Confucius at the heart of this story and builds his portrait of the many schools and thinkers around this focal point.
Sima, Qian. The Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Sima Qian was the first great historian of ancient China. This is a translation of parts of his history of the rise and rule of the Qin dynasty, including his biography of the first Qin emperor.
Snow, Edgar. Red Star over China. New York: Grove Press, 1968. Snow was an American journalist who traveled to the Communist base area in northwest China and was able to interview many of the Communist leaders, including Mao Zedong, as well as survivors of the Long March. This book, originally published in 1938, includes the first account in the West of Mao and his ideas.
Spence, Jonathan. God’s Chinese Son. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996. A biography of Hong Xiuquan and a history of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, which he founded and led in the most serious challenge to Qing power since the 17th century.
_________. K’ang-hsi, Emperor of China. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.
Based on the emperor’s own writings, Spence creates a human-scale portrait of one of the greatest rulers in China’s history. Kangxi is shown not only as a political leader but as a family man, with concerns about his children and his own health alongside the major administrative issues on his mind.
_________. Mao Zedong. New York: Viking Books, 1999. A short, highly readable account of the life and times of China’s great modern revolutionary leader. Spence presents a careful, balanced story of the man without whom, the Chinese say, there would be no New China.
Tillman, Hoyt Cleveland, and Stephen H. West, eds. China under Jurchen Ride. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. An anthology of writings about the Jin dynasty, when the Jurchen people controlled northern China, and how Chinese scholars found roles both in government and in carrying on the cultural life of the literati under alien rule.
Twitchett, Denis, and Michael Loewe, eds. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 1: The Ch’in and Han Empires. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986. The first volume in the authoritative 14-volume series. Includes essays on the political, military, legal, economic, and social history of the formative centuries of China’s classic imperial order.
Wakeman, Frederick. Strangers at the Gate. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. A study of the social impact of the Opium War in Guangdong province, showing how ordinary Chinese responded to the defeat of the Qing and the intrusion of Western power into their local environment.
_________. The Great Enterprise. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. A massive two-volume study of the rise of the Manchus and their conquest and consolidation of power in the 17,h century. The most thorough account of power, politics, and military affairs available.
Wang, Aihe. Cosmology> and Political Culture in Early China. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Explores the intricate links between ideas about the underlying order of the natural world and the human realm. Social order was seen as part of the natural world, and natural phenomena could be read as omens and portents with implications for government.
Watson, Burton, trans. Han Fei Tzu: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. Presents the fundamental ideas of the philosopher most associated with Legalism and the rise of the Qin dynasty.
_________, trans. Mo Tzu: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963. Selections from the writings of one of the most creative thinkers of the Warring States period, who emphasized doctrines of universal love and the rejection of aggressive warfare in an age of chronic conflict.
Whitfield, Susan. Life along the Silk Road. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Describes the lives of a variety of people, from merchants to monks, in the oasis towns along the Silk Road, the vital overland trade link between China and India, Persia and the Mediterranean.
Wriggins, Sally Hovey. Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996. The story of the Tang dynasty Buddhist pilgrim who walked from China to India and back, bringing treasures of Buddhist scriptures with him that transformed the understanding of Buddhism in China.
Wright, Arthur F. Buddhism in Chinese History. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959. A concise overview of the basic teachings of Buddhism and how it came to China and developed in interaction with Chinese civilization.
_________. The Sui Dynasty. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978. The history of the reunification of China by Yang Jian in the late 6th century and the flourishing and collapse of the Sui dynasty he founded and passed on to his son, Yang Guang.
Wright, Arthur F., and Denis Twitchett, eds. Perspectives on the T’ang. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973. Essays on the social and political history of the Tang, as well as Tang thought and religion and the great age of Chinese poetry.
Xiong, Victor Cunrui. Sui-Tang Chang’an. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 2000. A history of the great urban center of Chang’an, capital of the Sui and Tang dynasties and the largest city in the world. As the economic center of the Tang Empire, Chang’an was host to traders and travelers from across the Eurasian continent.
Yang, Ye. Vignettes from the Late Ming. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999. An anthology of translations of short writings from the Ming dynasty. These occasional pieces provide unique insights into the intellectual concerns and social alienation of the literati in a time of deepening crisis for the dynastic state.
Yoshinobu, Shiba. Commerce and Society in Sung China. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan, Center for Chinese Studies, 1992. An important study by a Japanese scholar of the dynamics of growth that reshaped China from the 11th through the early 13lh centuries and that drove the transformation of much of the East Asian economic order, as well.