Wednesday, January 28, 2004

You mean, relevant knowledge enhances appreciation? No way!

Michelle reports on Bridge of Birds, the book I in turn reported on a few days ago. Michelle brings a bit more perspective to the book, knowing as she does slightly more about Chinese history than I do.

I know that Chairman Mao is dead, and that's about it. He had been dead for ten years or so when I took the high school class in which we covered Chinese history -- for a month or so -- and the textbooks we had for that class had been printed while Mao was still alive. In fact, at a lot of points in that year's history classes, our teacher had to amend the text: "This guy they're talking about in present tense is dead now, and you'll notice that the book speaks favorably about that guy, but he turned out to be a dictator and killed a lot of people before he was exiled. Oh, and he's dead now, too. And we're gonna skip the chapter on this country, because that country doesn't exist anymore."

So, can anyone recommend a good, preferably one-volume general history of China and/or the Far East?

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