Ancient archway group by the West Lake in Hangzhou, China

Best Books on Chinese History

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China is the leading country in terms of highest population and has a rich history of five thousand years behind it. The country holds back behind it, a rich treasure of history. 

Reading a book on Chinese history is an authentic way to find out more about the country. We have enlisted some of the best books which you can pick up if you wish to know about Chinese history. 

Let us take a look at them. 

5 Best Books on Chinese History & Reviews

1. Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet 

Author: Dorothy Ko 

Publisher: University of California Press

Pages: 200

In this book, the author explores a cultural tradition in China which has been followed for ages. She goes on to explain several vital facts about the same and how it has been passed down for several years. The author talks about foot binding and shoemaking in china and the symbolism it holds. 

The book has the potential to capture the interest of the readers and clearly lays out details which demonstrate the significance of these and many more traditions. The author has written the book beautifully with clear direction to her thoughts. The text has undergone refinement to meet the standards of eloquent writing and accuracy. Thus, the readers will be able to appreciate how the author has penned this book. 

The author also succeeds in adding a new dimension to the reader’s perspective about Chinese history. The book also includes a number of images which allow the reader to connect the textual facts with their reality in the book. Thus, this book is highly recommended for readers who want to know more about the history of China. It certainly happens to be an invigorating read!

Summary: This book gives a major insight into the history of China because of the ground level examination that the author makes and lays out for the readers to explore and read through the medium of her words. 

2. The Art Of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Publisher: Filiquarian

Pages: 68

Perhaps one of the oldest and most recommended books on Chinese history is this one. This book has impacted many readers across the world and has found appreciation from many readers. In penning this book, the author describes the essential ways in which the Chinese battlefields formed command. Thus, it gives an essential insight into the historical incidences of the country.

Essentially, the book portrays the authors’ thoughts on leadership. So, it describes an essential philosophy of the author which has been compiled in a few pages. The book can appear to offer different value to a different set of readers. To help them solve and overcome several disruptions in their lives, this book offers some help. Thus, the readers have much to consume out of this book in terms of what it offers.

The use of wise words from the author in this book highlight many essential thoughts that emerge from his mind. In sharing his wisdom, he brings forth many definitive answers for the readers, which are crucial to their understanding of Chinese history. It is apparent that the book might do a lot to shape the perception of the reader. Thus, this book is a piece of treasure and knowledge which cannot really be conveyed in terms of any number of coins.

Summary: Readers will appreciate the wide vision of the author with which he has penned this book. Thus, it will largely resonate with a number of readers who wish to learn about Chinese history and its leaders. 

3. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China 

Author: Jung Chang

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 538

The author has crafted the story against the backdrop of the 20th century. It spans the tale of three different generations, all in one book. But the author promises to deliver much more than an intimate tale in this book by sweeping the stores of history and eyewitness accounts. This book is no less than the best selling classic that explores the world on account of a female. 

The book engrosses the reader in a painful yet effective account of Chinese history. Ever since the book was first published in 1991, it has been widely appreciated and generously awarded. This is because the near personal account of incidents shared in the book by the author never fail to garner the attention and sympathy of the readers. 

To many readers, this book might appear like a tale of adventure while to others, it may come out as a fairy tale but with many atrocities. The typical writing style of the author makes it hard to put down the book at any point in time. 

Through the eyes of a Chinese family, the reader gets a chance to view the history of china. And this is no less than a memoir and a work of fascination that dwells in the mind of the reader. 

There is much inspiration that can be drawn from this book, and a lot to be understood regarding the history of China. Coming from the author, the words find themselves enveloped in a factual stance that presents a complete timeline of events. 

Summary: The book demands appreciation from the reader for the sheer transparency of facts and the true depiction of events which appear from the pen of the author. 

4. Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City 1842-1949

Author: Stella Dong 

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Pages: 336

The author talks about the major transformation of Shanghai and enlightens the readers about the makeshift changes that the city has undergone. In doing so, he highlights the major history of the Chinese mainland. Thus, the reader is able to view many aspects of the country and how it may have evolved to become the densely populated area it is today. 

In reading this book, the readers will find themselves gaining immense knowledge about the legendary city. This book is rich in facts and figures which prove to be effective in delightful for the reader’s experience. 

The author has done a commendable job to define and streamline the events in one of China’s main cities. At the same time, the author also highlights the cultural relevance of the city. While talking about the different elements in her story, the author makes a compelling effort to create an alluring structure of thoughts and ideas. Thus, the readers find themselves in the midst of entertaining text and an interesting plot that also informs them about the history of Shanghai. 

The facts listed in the book are not ordinarily found elsewhere, which makes this book an attractive investment for the readers. The book is certainly a work of brilliance that can beat ordinary notions about the Chinese city. As a historian, the author has done a really good job to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the facts in her story. Many might also find the format of the book academic. 

Summary: There is much to like about this book yet the absence of explanations to various things and the lack of footnotes can strike many readers as a missing element, which is pertinent to a book. 

5. China in Ten Words

Author: Yu Hua

Publisher: Anchor

Pages: 240

This is a book that captures the heart and essence of the Chinese. The book challenges the common notions about China and how the country is so much different than what it is ordinarily thought of. The author collects a string of thoughts in this book which have not been heard or read before now. 

Thus, the central idea of the book is to educate the reader while divulging information about Chinese history. The book certainly happens to be capturing and enticing to the reader. So it is no wonder why they may find it to be one of the best books on Chinese history. 

The book is a treasured collection of stories and essays which can be funny at times and also entertaining at others. It is unusual to stumble upon a piece of work such as this one in a non fiction book. The author takes a very smart and intelligent approach to enlist the content of this book. The book balances the past and the present in a very precarious manner that comes forth as something that the readers really enjoy. Some might go on to call the book enchanting and bewitching and in doing that they may not be wrong. So, the book is very much worth reading for a wide array of readers. 

Summary: The book contains a handsome amount of details about Chinese history and culture. So it will be really appreciated by readers who wish to learn about the same. 

In Conclusion

With this, we complete our list of the top books on Chinese history. We hope that you will find what you are looking for, with this book. These books have been collected on the recommendation of several scholars and experts in the field. If you know of any other book on Chinese history, do share it with us below. 

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