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Best Chinese History Books To Read

There are countless Chinese History courses, tutorials, articles available online, but for some, having a book is still a necessity to learn. This is an up-to-date list of recommended books.

China: A History (Volume 1): From Neolithic Cultures through the Great Qing Empire, (10,000 BCE – 1799 CE) (2010)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadAvailable in one or two volumes, this accessible, yet rigorous, introduction to the political, social, and cultural history of China provides a balanced and thoughtful account of the development of Chinese civilization from its beginnings to the present day.Each volume includes ample illustrations, a full complement of maps, a chronological table, extensive notes, recommendations for further reading and an index.Volume 1: From Neolithic Cultures through the Great Qing Empire (10,000 BCE―1799).
Author(s): Harold M. Tanner

China: A History (2011)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadMany nations define themselves in terms of territory or people; China defines itself in terms of history. Taking into account the country’s unrivaled, voluminous tradition of history writing, John Keay has composed a vital and illuminating overview of the nation’s complex and vivid past. Keay’s authoritative history examines 5,000 years in China, from the time of the Three Dynasties through Chairman Mao and the current economic transformation of the country.
Author(s): John Keay

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (2017)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadFar more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next. From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years.
Author(s): Peter Frankopan

The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (2010)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadMore populous than any other country on earth, China also occupies a unique place in our modern world for the continuity of its history and culture. In this sumptuously illustrated single-volume history, now in its second edition, noted historian Patricia Buckley Ebrey traces the origins of Chinese culture from prehistoric times to the present.
Author(s): Patricia Buckley Ebrey

A Brief History of Chinese Civilization (2006)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadThis compelling text explores the development of China through its art, religion, literature, and thought as well as through its economic, political, and social history. This author team combines strong research with extensive classroom teaching experience to offer a clear, consistent, and highly readable text that is accessible to students with no previous knowledge of the history of China.
Author(s): Conrad Schirokauer, Miranda Brown

A Short History of China: From Ancient Dynasties to Economic Powerhouse (2013)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadAn absorbing introduction to more than 4,000 years of Chinese history, this book tells the stories of the tyrants, despots, femmes fatales, artists, warriors, and philosophers who have shaped this fascinating and complex nation. It describes the amazing technological advances that China’s scientists and inventors made many hundreds of years before similar discoveries in Europe.
Author(s): Gordon Kerr

A Short Chinese Philosophy (1997)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadThe classic chronicle of Chinese philosophical thought from the third millennium to the 20th century.From the sage-kings of ancient China to the 1911 overthrow of the oldest monarchical system in the world, Chinese philosophy has evolved and influenced schools of thought around the world.
Author(s): Yu-lan Fung, Derk Bodde

Understanding China: A Guide to China’s Economy, History, and Political Culture (2010)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadIn this succinct, modest, and refreshingly forthright book–now revised and updated for the new century–Starr introduces to the uninitiated reader the background, basic data, and issues at stake in China’s crisis-ridden present and future.After ten years, John Bryan Starr has thoroughly revised and updated his classic introduction to the background of, the data about, and the issues at stake in China’s present and future.
Author(s): John Bryan Starr

Ancient China: A Captivating Guide to the Ancient History of China and the Chinese Civilization Starting from the Shang Dynasty to the Fall of the Han Dynasty (2019)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadTo understand present-day China, its politics, society, and culture in general, we have to go back to the beginnings of the Chinese civilization.In this book, you will be led on a journey through almost 2,000 years of Chinese history, showing you all the ups and downs of those ancient times, the sufferings and joys of the Chinese people, along with their greatest achievements and failures.
Author(s): Captivating History

The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han (History of Imperial China) (2010)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadIn 221 bc the First Emperor of Qin unified the lands that would become the heart of a Chinese empire. Though forged by conquest, this vast domain depended for its political survival on a fundamental reshaping of Chinese culture.
Author(s): Mark Edward Lewis, Timothy Brook

Chinese History: A New Manual, Fourth Edition (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series) (2015)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadEndymion Wilkinson’s bestselling manual of Chinese history has long been an indispensable guide to all those interested in the civilization and history of China. The hugely enlarged third edition won the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2014.
Author(s): Endymion Wilkinson

A History of Chinese Political Thought (2017)

 Best Chinese History Books To ReadChina’s rapid rise as a regional and global power is one of the most important political developments of the twenty-first century.
Author(s): Youngmin Kim

Best Chinese History Books to Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some chinese history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Studies on the Chinese Economy During the Mao Era

Author(s): Katsuji Nakagane
ID: 3625047, Publisher: Springer, Year: 2023, Size: 4 Mb, Format: pdf

The Global Circulation of Chinese Materia Medica, 1700–1949: A Microhistory of the Caterpillar Fungus

Author(s): Di Lu
ID: 3640144, Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2023, Size: 4 Mb, Format: pdf

A History of Un-fractured Chinese Civilization in Archaeological Interpretation

Author(s): Qingzhu Liu
ID: 3655616, Publisher: Springer, Year: 2023, Size: 35 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not absolute. Some books are really best-sellers according to Los Angeles Times, others are written by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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