Mountain of Fame Portraits in Chinese History

ISBN-10: 0691155879

ISBN-13: 9780691155876

Edition: 2012 (Revised)

Authors: John E. Wills
List price: $28.95 Buy it from $9.98
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Description: Through biographies of China's most colorful and famous personalities, John Wills displays the five-thousand-year sweep of Chinese history from the legendary sage emperors to the tragedy of Tiananmen Square. This unique introduction to Chinese history and culture uses more than twenty exemplary lives--biographies of China's most colorful and famous personalities--including those of statesmen, philosophers, poets, and rulers, to provide the focus for accounts of key historical trends and periods. What emerges is a provocative rendering of China's moral landscape, featuring characters who have resonated in the historical imagination as examples of villainy, heroism, wisdom, spiritual vision, political guile, and complex combinations of all of these.Investigating both the legends and the facts surrounding these figures, Wills reveals the intense interest of the Chinese in the brilliance and in the frail complexities of their heroes. Included, for instance, is a description of the frustrations and anxieties of Confucius, who emerges as a vulnerable human being trying to restore the world to the virtue and order of the sage kings. Wills recounts and questions the wonderfully shocking stories about the seventh-century Empress Wu, an astute ruler and shaper of an increasingly centralized monarchy, who has since assumed a prominent position in the Chinese tradition's rich gallery of bad examples--because she was a woman meddling in politics. The portrayal of Mao Zedong, which touches upon this leader's earthy personality and his reckless political visions, demonstrates the tendency of the Chinese not to divorce ideology from its human context: Maoism for them is a form of "objective" Marxism, inseparable from one man's life and leadership.Each of the twenty chapters provides a many-sided exploration of a "slice" of Chinese history, engaging the general reader in a deep and personal encounter with China over the centuries and today. The biographies repeatedly mirror the moral earnestness of the Chinese, the great value they place on the ruler-minister relationship, and their struggles with tensions among practicality, moral idealism, and personal authenticity. Culminating in a reflection on China's historical direction in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square, the biographies show the modern Chinese still inspired and frustrated by a complex heritage of moral fervor and political habits and preconceptions. As absorbing as it is wide ranging, this history is written for the general public curious about China and for the student beginning to study its rich cultural heritage.This new edition highlights important figures that have emerged in China since the book's initial publication and provides updated suggestions for further reading.

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Book details

List price: $28.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/22/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 440
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

John Laslettis Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author or co-author of many books includingLabor and the Left, Failure of a Dream?, Colliers Across the Sea, and History of the ILGWU in Los Angeles.John E. Wills Jr. is professor of history at the University of Southern California and the author of many acclaimed works in cultural history.

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
Note on Romanization
A Summary Time Line
Yu
Confucius (Kongzt) II
? The First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shihuang)
? Sima Qian
? WangMang
Ban Zhao
Zhuge Liang
Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch
? Empress Wu
Su Dongpo
Yue Fei
Qiu Chuji, the Daoist
Wang Yangming
Zheng Chenggong (Coxinga)
The Qianlong Emperor
Hong Xiuquan, the Heavenly King
Liang Qichao
The Kuomintang Legacy
Mao Zedong
Names in the News
Afterword to the 2012 Edition
Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading
Index
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