A Military History of China

A Military History of China


Book Reviewer
Helm submitted a new resource:

A Military History of China - From the first recorded battle to the twenty-first century

I really tried hard to like this book, but it's just dull. It has no illustrations other than maps and is just really a list of names and dates with no real atmosphere to it. I think the author bite off more than he could chew with the sheer time span he's tried to cover and so the details that make a period come to life have been skipped over. I kept stopping and restarting it hoping I might come to like it, but alas it was not to be.

In summary, both too much and too little covers this book.

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Your big problem is that you will only get one side of the picture. Generally for most of the time span the opposition didn't write. Thus the only description you have is a bureaucrats views of what his masters want history to think happened.
Perhaps the author should have written it as a timeline, with links to sources at apppropriate points.

The best book I have read on China's military history is "China's Wars: Rousing the Dragon 1894-1949" by Philip Jowett. It has a lot of interesting details about the revolutions in China at that time.
Your big problem is that you will only get one side of the picture.
When you get periods of dynastic change, they're typically accompanied by a reappraisal of the preceding dynasty - some propaganda on why they failed but generally a sort of AAR designed to highlight what the new rulers need to avoid.

The Ming habit of buying off the Zunghar mongols contrasts wildly with Kangxi's determination to crush them once and for all before they could solidify their alliance with Tibet.

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