Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review Thursday: The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC - AD 2000

The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC - AD 2000
By Julia Lovell
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (February 21, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0802142974
ISBN-13: 978-0802142979

We picked this one up at a book fair recently, and it turned out to be a gem. Lovell teaches Chinese history at Cambridge University. She's a terrific writer, and uses the Great Wall to write a nice history of China and it's relations with other countries.

What grabbed my attention first was the story of Albion football team going over to China in the 1970s and refusing to visit The Wall on the principle that, "Once you've seen one wall, you've seen them all." Brilliant.

Then Lovell dives into the real history of the wall. First, she says there is no Great Wall of China. It's a collection of walls built at different times by different people. She also delves into Chinese perceptions of wall projects through the ages.

Lovell's research is thorough, and her writing lively and interesting.  This is a terrific read. It's taught me tons about Chinese history and culture, and I'm looking out for her other books.

7 comments:

Katnip Lounge said...

Excellent timing! I'm in the mood for a history read. I'll look for this one. Thanks!

Cezar and Léia said...

Hmm looks really an interesting book!
Thanks for sharing this review!
Léia

Mishkat said...

Thanks, Ellen! Added to my Amazon wishlist

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

I love history but ugh... China! China's people eat everything with four legs except a table! ;) I have more in common with the Giant Panda than with the people of China! ;) My ancestors probably came from the muddy banks of the Huanghe River but I feel no affinity with them and no desire to visit China.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Hmm, according to Gary Larson in "The Far Side", they built the wall to keep a dog out of their yard ... ;-)

A Bookaholic said...

Sounds interesting! Adding this to my to-buy list! :) Just got something on China too: Out of Mao's Shadow by Philip P. Pan. Bought it for only RM16.90 in Popular Bookstore! hehe

Ginger Jasper said...

Thanks for the review, loks interesting but mum is not sure if its quite her thing.. Hugs GJ x