Ancient Chinese Warfare (Hardback)
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Short Description for Ancient Chinese Warfare The history of China is a history of warfare. Twenty-five dynastic changes and numerous millenarian revolts decimated the populace, shattered the infrastructure, and brought chaos to the state. This title offers an account of the strategies and technology that shaped the earliest Chinese dynasties.
- Published: 24 March 2011
- Format: Hardback 576 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780465021451 ISBN 10: 046502145X
- Sales rank: 491,887
Full description for Ancient Chinese Warfare
In this title, a leading scholar of Chinese military history offers the definitive account of the strategies and technology that shaped the earliest Chinese dynasties. The history of China is a history of warfare. Twenty-five dynastic changes and numerous millenarian revolts decimated the populace, shattered the infrastructure, and brought chaos to the state. Clashes with aggressive external people were frequent and brutal; lengthy periods of fragmentation witnessed intense, often unremitting internecine fighting; two decades rarely passed without large scale conflict. Wars have caused dynasties to collapse, fractured the thin facade of national unity, and sometimes brought decades of alien occupation and domination. But according to Chinese mythology, before the onset of war, strife, and violence, there was a legendary golden age of agrarian peace and prosperity throughout China. There was little evidence to refute this bucolic belief until now, as recent discoveries have suddenly infused life into the previously shadowy remnants of ancient Chinese civilisation. Ralph D. Sawyer, translator of "The Art of War" and one of America's preeminent experts on Chinese military history, here offers the first comprehensive examination in any language of the initiation, early evolution, and eventual maturation of conflict in China, as well as its role in the rise of the first great dynasties. As recently recovered documents and archaeological findings reveal, the Legendary Era, Hsia Dynasty, and Shang Dynasty were times when warfare, not virtue, wrought peace. Warfare was a primary source of innovation, social evolution, material progress, and creativity in ancient China, and it was the force that formed the first cohesive Chinese empire. By not just exploiting martial skills but also thoroughly integrating warrior values into their societies, the Shang, if not the Hsia, can be said to have set China on a trajectory of state building and aggressive activity that continues to this day. From the earliest evolutions of the arrowhead to the development of walled defenses, from the adoption of equestrian and chariot warfare to transformative advances in metallurgy, Sawyer provides an in-depth look at the early technologies and strategies that won wars and shaped culture in ancient China. Combining exhaustive research and unmatched expertise, "Ancient Chinese Warfare" is the book that military historians, military tacticians, and Chinese history buffs will turn to as the definitive account of the belligerent beginnings of a unified Chinese state.