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Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Sima Qian (145?-90? BCE) was the first major Chinese historian. His "Shiji," or "Records of the Grand Historian," documents the history of China and its neighboring countries from the ancient past to his own time. These three volumes cover the Qin and Han dynasties.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 15th 1996 by Columbia University Press (first published May 6th 1993)
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Aug 04, 2013 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, classics
The whole work was interesting, but the letter in his own hand about how the Grand Historian chose the humiliation of castration rather than nobly committing suicide in order to finish his history was the most moving.
Mar 01, 2013 Helmut rated it really liked it
Shelves: china
Das Geschichtswerk des antiken China

Das "Shi Ji", hier als "Records of the Grand Historian" präsentiert, ist mit die wichtigste Quelle für Informationen über das antike China vor und während der Han-Dynastie. Ganz gemäß dem Temperament der konfuzianischen Chinesen mit ihrer Vergangenheitsfixierung werden hier detaillierte Informationen, die auch den neuesten archäologischen Forschungen standhalten, über Personen und Begebenheiten festgehalten.
In diesem Band sammelt Übersetzer Burton Watson die K
Jul 14, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok
The "basic annals" chapters were tedious. The various biography chapters were quite interesting.

# 18 of 133 on Clifton Fadiman's New Lifetime Reading Plan
May 31, 2016 Harry added it
" It is the nature of every man to love life and hate death, to think of his parents and look after his wife and children. Only when he is moved by higher principles is this not so. Then there are things that he must do. Now I have been most unfortunate, for I lost my parents very early. With no brothers or sisters, I have been left alone and orphaned. And you yourself, Shaoqing, have seen me with my wife and child and know I would not let thoughts of them deter me. Yet the brave man does not ...more
In-depth look into the rulers of Qin and the expansion of the state. If you enjoy ancient chinese history, you've probably heard of Sima Qian. This book starts with an ancient mythological account of the ancestors of the rulers Qin, then continues with the Spring & Autumn, Warring States periods, the unification of China and ends with the disintegration of the Qin empire. The most enjoyable part for me was the biography section, biographies of famous statesmen and generals that helped the ...more
Apr 10, 2011 jersey9000 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest history texts ever- also one of the first. Is it better than Herodotus? I dunno, but it sure has many more beheadings.
Aug 12, 2014 Dayla rated it liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
I was not looking forward to reading this book, but once I fell into the rhythm, it got better. The essence of the book is the Qin Dynasty. (I have no idea how to pronounce "Qin," but that really doesn't matter.)

Basically, the Qin Dynasty started with the First Emperor who had troubles, like trying to get the feudal people to cooperate, and then when he signs a peace treaty, the Feudals completely re-align themselves with people of the North. So that caused more fighting. Then the Second Emperor
Adam K.
I just couldn't finish this. I'm sure it holds rich delights for students of ancient Chinese history, as recorded by a noted ancient Chinese historian, but I just found it too dry. I did admire the way Sima Qian editorialized on various aspects of Qin history, stepping into the facts and histories and making personal observations, but mostly I just got lost in the names and details, which hit the reader like a tsunami. I would enjoy something that breathed a little more, allowed me to get more ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Becky rated it it was amazing
In the end, I am so glad I read this. Of course I missed tons of details but I caught some - like the practice was to avoid besmirching the honor of a powerful leader who wanted to punish you for your shortcomings - so they send you a sword and a "do the right thing" message and fully expect you to kill yourself. Also, the person being sentenced will find their own reason for why they should die, I suppose as a way to make their peace with it?

Often while I have been reading this, I've thought, i
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Sima Qian (Szu-ma Chien; 司馬遷 c. 145 or 135 BC – 86 BC) was a Chinese historian of the Han dynasty. He is considered the father of Chinese historiography for his work, the Records of the Grand Historian, a Jizhuanti-style (纪传体) general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to his time, during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han. Although he worked as the Court ...more
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