Bryn Hammond's Reviews > History of Chinese Society: Liao

History of Chinese Society by Karl A. Wittfogel
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it was amazing
bookshelves: steppe-history, website-widget

This is an old work from 1949. It is exhaustive and you can't do without this book, in spite of its age - it's hard to imagine such a thorough work, heavy on my lap, being either compiled or published these days. Call me a cynic.

It translates almost every document left by Liao; it's perhaps half translation (this is not a bad thing). As a source book it's just invaluable and a dream... if only we had this for Jin or indeed a lot of other societies. Liao gets lavish treatment here. No-one's even tried to write about them so deeply since.

I find nothing old-fashioned, in a bad sense, about the authors. And there's a test case: Liao women were freer than women were in 1949, I believe; but the authors aren't fazed by that.

Too much information for almost every purpose you can possibly have. It's great.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 1, 2012 – Shelved
April 1, 2012 – Shelved as: steppe-history
October 26, 2012 – Shelved as: website-widget

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