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The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China
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The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In 1644, the Manchus, a relatively unknown people inhabiting China’s rude northeastern frontier, overthrew the Ming, Asia’s mightiest rulers, and established the Qing dynasty, which endured to 1912. From this event arises one of Chinese history’s great conundrums: How did a barely literate alien people manage to remain in power for nearly 300 years over a highly cultured p ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 15th 2001 by Stanford University Press (first published February 1st 2001)
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Who were the Manchu, and how did this obscure frontier tribe take control of and govern a country (from 1644-1912) with a population three hundred times their own? This is the first academic treatment written from the perspectice of the Manchu themselves, and the first work in English to draw extensively from Manchu-language original sources. Outstanding.
As with too many books by academics, this is actually a monograph that was needlessly extended by 200 pages. The main points of the author are that the Eight Banners were an integral identifier and institutional bulwark for defining the Manchus, that the definition of "Manchuness" changed over time, and that typical identifiers for ethnicity (such as a separate language, defined homeland, and distinct cultural practices) might not apply to the Manchus.

However, this book tends to the repetitive w
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Rereading it again for my research, but I remember really enjoying it the first time around.
Corry L.
This book has a lot of quotes from period sources and is filled with excellent detail describing the lives of the Manchus in Qing China and their attempts (both successful and not) at retaining a separate ethnic identity and governing a country as a small, alien minority. Fascinating.

As an author interested in learning about other cultures, and as a person who rarely reads history texts, I found this both engaging and highly readable.
My favorite reference on the Manchus. :D
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