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China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia
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China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  16 reviews
From about 1600 to 1800, the Qing empire of China expanded to unprecedented size. Through astute diplomacy, economic investment, and a series of ambitious military campaigns into the heart of Central Eurasia, the Manchu rulers defeated the Zunghar Mongols, and brought all of modern Xinjiang and Mongolia under their control.
Hardcover, 725 pages
Published April 28th 2005 by Belknap Press
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Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: china
Peter Purdue begins "China Marches West" with a review of the modern historiography of Central Asia. 19th century historians saw Russian and Chinese imperial expansions as civilizing missions akin to the European settlement of the North American frontier. In Toynbee's later "Study of History" climatic conditions bound nomads to oblivion, while civilization was borne by agrarian mastery of nature. Cycles of pastoral desiccation were associated with irruptions of nomadic hordes.

Other 20th century
Bryn Hammond
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Additional. I knew I didn't do justice to this book. I'm on page 18 of a second read and have no notion why I didn't five-star this. Fixed.

I'm giving this a second read.
He argues for 'human agency' in history, and feels that previous history, of the steppe and China -- specific to this time but not only -- has refused to grant human agency to the actors in history, through too much determinative theory (eg. the typical one of the steppe, its politics and wars determined by climate fluctua
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is one of those to much of a good thing situations. The subject is refreshing, the methods innovative, the sources are little used or old ones analysed in a new light, a wide array of perspectives presented, well placed in wider regional and global history and yet I only give it two stars? the problem is that for all the positive aspects to the research, the book is lacking in reading fun; the middle chapters in particular just go on and on with every little detail discussed and there ...more
China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia, by Peter C. Perdue is about a century or so of Qing Chinese history, spanning the Qing conquests of Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet during the 17th and 18th centuries. Perdue examines these conflicts from every aspect, including the growth of the Qing state, the Zunghar mongols and the Russians, and the conflicting pressures on the steppe nomads of Central Asia as these three empires competed for land, tribal loyalties, and resources in the ...more
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it
One of these books that is really dense and irrelevant to my primary interests, so I'm only going to read the pages assigned to me as coursework, but... wow. A well-researched history on a somewhat unusual topic. Perdue is clearly a rare historian with a deep understanding of historical sociology, allowing him to show not just what happened, but what it all means.

As the title might suggest, this story is basically a political and military one, but the economic dimensions are just as important, a
Manlai Chonos
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent monograph on the most complicated and complex period in Inner Asian history of Manchus Mongols and Chinese
Adam Windsor
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
The first section is an interesting account of the development and expansion of power of Qing China, Tsarist Russia, and the Zhungarian Mongols, and the struggle for dominance/survival between the first and last, along with how the Russian presence fatefully altered the balance of power. After that, it became something of a slog. I am sure the exhaustive economic and historiographical analysis will be compelling stuff for some people - and perhaps if it were presented differently I would be one ...more
Peter Hutt Sierra
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not a bad book at all and very informative. However the it spends a lot of time dealing with the logistics of grain supply and currency manipulation that were required for the settlement of the west. Even when it does discuss the campaigns of the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors it focuses on logistics. To clarify this is a well written and comprehensive examination of the Qing conquests, but it is not really interested in telling a story. I'm glad I read the book, but I'm never coming back.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing details about Qing frontier economic policy. Turns out proportional income taxes do discourage labor supply!
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eurasia
Exhaustive but easy to read survey of the end of the last Nomadic Empire.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kenghis Khan
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I think this book should have been split in two. The first part, dealing with the Qing conquest of Zhungaria was pretty engaging for a military historian. The second part, which goes into considerable depth about how the Qing administrative structure absorbed the newly conquered northwestern territories, could be quite informative for a those trying to understand the "what do we do now that we conquered this?" angle of early modern nation building. But when combined as a single work, I felt the ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you read as much history as I do, you tend to start looking for the parts that are glossed over. A visit to your local bookstore will show shelves overflowing with World War 2, but finding a good book about the history of central Asia from the 1600s to the 1800s as the Russians, Chinese, and Mongols struggle for supremacy is a rare find.
That being said, China Marches West can be a little intimidating, both because of its sheer size and scholarly tone (about as rip-roaring as it gets is on
rated it did not like it
Jul 23, 2016
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for those who want to understand China's challenges on its western borders. It provides important insights on the use of trade and other non-violent relationships to protect China from invading Central Asians. But the material on military excursions by the Qing Dynasty into Central Asia is also remarkable.
Jessica Zu
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ge
overwhelmed with details, but still love this book. highly recommend if you wanna rethink empire and imperialism, colonization, and world history. Not sure about Eurasian history and steppe empires ... many sources are CHinese ... so ...
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
To explore the process of Chinese imperialism into the west whilst reflecting on the western powers 1,000 year quixotic crusades into the east is illuminating.
Henry Antenen
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