Saturday, June 28, 2014

China - The Best One Volume History

Nations are what their deeds are.
G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy Of History, p.74

If you are not living under a rock, you don't need anyone to tell you that China has become, in recent times, a very large force in the world. This is of course going to be real trouble in the near future. A good way to understand this is to have a basic understanding of the history of China. The problem is that the peasants of the Peasants Republic of China has a history that covers roughly about eight thousand years.
Worried about China? Forget about it..
 As a public service for his world wide readership the Oracle of Ottawa has been keeping an eye out for the perfect modern day summary that the modern busy person of today could read and benefit from. The problem with Chinese histories is that there is  a lot of them and most of them are as boring and as dry as fried out area of hell. The ideal situation would be to discover one that was written by someone that was actually on the ground at the time of the big modern changes that we are all presently dealing with today.

It is all a pretty tall order, but the Oracle of Ottawa has discovered just the ticket recently, by total chance of course, while still ever working on his "thinking about thinking" project. The name of the work is: A History of Chinese Civilization by Jacques Gernet.(Second edition...) It is under 800 pages, but is the most readable history of Chinese civilization that the Oracle of Ottawa has ever seen. And for good measure the Oracle of Ottawa has read it and most heartily recommends it as the work that hits the spot.

The one you want...
 The work has been translated into English and published by Cambridge University Press which is all that has to said as far as the bona fides are concerned. The book consist of eleven parts, broken into numerous chapters. After reading through it, the reader will have a very strong handle on what makes China tick, and why it ticks in the way it does. It explains most clearly the greatest weaknesses of China as a society in the modern world. The time period covered is from 8,000 B.C. up to 1989 A.D. with that nasty business in Tiananmen Square. The work is very well illustrated, with tons of summary facts and chronologies for handy quick reference. 

This is a most useful work for persons that are thinking of investing and /or doing business in China. (Don't!) Or for people that just want to understand the evening news somewhat more clearly. The main idea is that China is totally different from the Western World. It explains why, and why it will never change. It also explains the great structural weaknesses that presently are built into Chinese society  The Oracle of Ottawa has also included a video of another Canadian who has also been on the ground very recently and comes to pretty much the same conclusions as Gernet does but in an even more hard hitting way. Enjoy...

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