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The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC - Ad 2000
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The Great Wall: China Against the World, 1000 BC - Ad 2000

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Legendarily 2,200 years old and 4,300 miles long, the Great Wall of China seems to make an overwhelmingly confident physical statement about the country it spans: about China's age-old sense of itself being an advanced civilization anxious to draw a clear line between itself and the "barbarians" at its borders. But behind the wall's intimidating exterior--and the myths tha ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published February 28th 1981)
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Delia Hannon
The book I chose to read was The Great Wall: China Against the World by Julia Lovell. It covered Chinese culture from 1000 BC to modern times. The book focused on walls, particularly the Great Walk, throughout China, their purposes, and what they meant, both figuratively and physically.
This book turned out to be a fascinating examination of the Chinese mentality when it came to interacting with other cultures. Lovell used walls as a metaphor for Chinese isolationism and imperialism, discussin
Most of this book felt tainted by an obnoxiously sarcastic undertone which seemed to hint at derision for much of Chinese history. While I've nothing against criticizing modern or historical leaders, the kind of criticism, implied or obviously stated, that was found in the pages seemed more snide than helpful. Overall, though, this was a very readable overview of Chinese history. It is definitely from a macro view, so you don't get a lot of the details, but from this view it presented well the c ...more
Harald Groven
An excellent 3000 year history of China. The book's recurrent theme is the imperial regimes different foreign policies towards the outside world, excemplified how to keep the barabarians out by maintaining the Great Wall fortifications.
The first chapters are truly remarkabl examples of cultural history, stressing the surprising point that it was actually western visitors in 18th and 19th century that taught the Chinese to appreciate the Great Wall as something to be proud of (as national identi
Pros: By focusing on the history of wall-building and public perception of the Great Wall, Lovell does a good job of making 3000 years of history digestible. This book is a good resource for an overview of Chinese history that includes greater themes as well as little details.

Cons: The repeated stories of uprisings, massacres and famines were a little depressing- how could nobody ever learn? Also, the author's (justifiably) snide tone was funny at first but got tiresome and made me wonder- if al
Alexander Case
Very well done book, covering how historical China's border-wall building was fueled by (and recursively lead to), their imperialist ambitions and isolationist attitudes, and how that would effect the country in the future. That said, some of the other elements that effect these attitudes (the unpredictability of the Yangtze river requiring any centralized government to focus it's attention inward on *that* in order to make sure everyone gets fed, is only given brief mention, which is kind of un ...more
vor langer Zeit ließen die chinesischen Kaiser die Gesandten der Barbaren aus allen herren Nationen zu sich kommen. Die Gesandten wurden kleine Geschenken mitbringen und den Kaiser der Kotau machen. Wenn die Gesandten aus militarischer überlegenen Nationen kamen, gingen sie dann mit große Mengen, sehr prachtvolle Geschenken zurück nach Hause (d.h. Tribüt der Chinesen). So bewährte sich die Chinesen Ihr Gesicht und die Illusion Ihrer Überlegenheit.

Ob sich inszwischen etwas geändert hat??
Jennifer (JC-S)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. China is a fascinating country with 3000 years of history and a myriad of inventions, rich in traditions and culture. It is also a country that has experienced enormous upheaval and change. This book is a good starting point for someone seeking to know more about China.
It helped me to gain a somewhat clearer picture of Chinese history (1 book is not enough, my score now is 2 and that only means I have some vague understanding of who came after whom), but the emphasis being on the wall, it kind of felt as though some other aspects were left out of the book.
Un libro interesante sobre la historia de China, vista desde la famosa Gran Muralla. Rompe con algunos de los mitos que rodean la Gran Muralla y explican el significado fisico y psicologico que las murallas han tenido para China a lo largo de su historia.
Eye opener for the histronical and scenic view. Quite a disapponting book, did not captivate (Julia) me, her narrative were blend and I closed this book at chapter 9. Most of her view were just cut and paste to me. What a way to end this book.
Julia Lovell writes an impressive book on the history of the 'Long Wall'. It was well written and thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to reading more of Julia's books in future.
Manuel Barrios
Magnífica descripción sobre lo que ha supuesto la "fortificación larga" en la historia china, y su papel de metáfora de la propia china. Muy recomendable
Paul French
the best all encompoassing book about the Great Wall and about the concepts of walls, real and imagined, in China and Chinese culture.
Interesting...but this book is as long as the great wall itself. It is not a page turner but you will learn something.
In depth, comprehensive, western view of China's history. Need a similar book by an eastern author to compare.
A fascinating and extremely well researched book about this most iconic of Chinese landmarks.
Fantastic history of the structure, history and psychology of the wall of China.
Repetitive drone .....
Finished research project.
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