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The Great Wall of China : From History to Myth - Arthur Waldron

The Great Wall of China

From History to Myth

Paperback Published: 6th July 1992
ISBN: 9780521427074
Number Of Pages: 316

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This is the first full scholarly study of the Great Wall of China to appear in any language, and challenges many deeply held ideas about Chinese history. Drawing both on primary sources and on the latest archaeology, the book first demonstrates that the standard account of the Great Wall is untrue and misleading and then presents a convincing new account. It begins by tracing the various walls and systems of frontier defenses that existed in early Chinese history, and shows how the greatest of these achieved a mythical symbolic stature that long survived the Wall itself. Focusing in particular on the Ming dynasty, the book explains the decision to build walls by placing it in its strategic and political context, showing what the alternatives were, and how and why they were rejected. The nature of these strategic debates tells the historian much about the nature of more recent Chinese politics. A striking concluding chapter traces how the true history of the Wall was lost in the early twentieth century as it was gradually transformed into a Chinese national symbol explained through historical myth.

'Historical writing at its best, a brilliant and very readable account.' The Asia Society 'This book has a wisdom, a patience, and a confidence about it that enrich Waldron's wonderful knack for writing history.' History Book Club 'One of the few books that change our basic assumptions about China.' Publisher's Weekly

List of illustrations
Note on romanization
Introduction: what is the Great Wall of China?
First Considerations
Early Chinese walls
Strategic origins of Chinese walls
The Making of the Great Wall
Geography and strategy: the importance of the Ordos
Security without walls: early Ming strategy and its collapse
Toward a new strategy: the Ordos crisis and the first walls
Politics and military policy at the turn of the sixteenth century
The second debate over the Ordos
The heyday of wall-building
The Significance of Wall-Building
The Great Wall and foreign policy: the problem of compromise
The Wall acquires new meanings
Chinese and Japanese materials
Western materials
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521427074
ISBN-10: 052142707X
Series: Canto Book
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 6th July 1992
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.95 x 13.87  x 2.13
Weight (kg): 0.42