For westerners, China s history is often reduced to a choice between timeless Confucian ideals or incomprehensible barbarisms such as footbinding or mass slaughter, fueled by generalizations such as China has five thousand years of history, China was a Confucian society, Chinese women were victims, China is a communist country, and many more.
But China is now too globally important to allow such oversimplifications to continue unchallenged, and this engaging and deeply knowledgeable volume counters them vigorously. In concise and accessible style, the contributors scrutinize a range of historical misconceptions that have ramifications for the present and future of China and its relations with the rest of the world. They consider how misunderstandings have arisen and present more sophisticated and nuanced interpretations. Readers will learn how numerous popular beliefs about China s history are mistaken and what new interpretations can help build the more accurate understandings of present-day China that we so badly need. By explicitly addressing common misconceptions, the book persuades readers to reexamine their assumptions about China s history and thus China in general and begin to see it as a real rather than largely imagined place. Contributions by: Elif Akcetin, Bridie Andrews, Tim Barrett, Felix Boecking, Michael C. Brose, Marjorie Dryburgh, Imre Galambos, Stanley E. Henning, Christian Hess, Clara Wing-chung Ho, Judd Kinzley, Fabio Lanza, Peter Lorge, Julia Lovell, Rana Mitter, Barbara Mittler, Ruth Mostern, Peter C. Perdue, Hai Ren, Andres Rodriguez, Tansen Sen, Elliot Sperling, Naomi Standen, Wasana Wongsurawat, and Ling Zhang."