China: A Macro History Review

China: A Macro History
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China: A Macro History ReviewRay Huang's "China: A Macro History" kept me up for a few nights in a row. Dr. Huang posed an extremely ambitious goal to explain fundamental differences of Western and Chinese civilizations, and to explore trends of Chinese government, military, cultural and religious institutions as they develop from legendary to modern times. The book is organized in chapters, each covering roughly a time span of the major dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. Concentration is more on trends (thus the title word "macro") then on events, more on developments of concepts rather then careers. People and events are represented inasmuch as they represent the underlining trend. As such every dynasty rise and eventual fall is represented, with credits due to each for the developments of Chinese nation. The institution of monarchy is a fascinating blend of ritual, unreal and fantastic, and idealistic, with an impressive organizational achievement in management of the country with the base of millions of agrarian households.
The only grievance I have with the book is that understandably enough Dr. Huang had to skip over a lot of material (or he would risk leaving us with yet another "The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire"); however in doing so he is rarely consistent, e.g. not explaining the elemental precepts of Confucianism, organization of Chinese army and bureaucracy; and fundamental principles behind state examinations. All those, however, can be gotten from other sources, and as such will tempt the reader to explore more.China: A Macro History Overview

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