by Stephen G. Haw
I’m actually a bit sad that I somehow didn’t take a picture of this little book, because I quite liked it. Actually, part of the reason I checked it out to begin with was because of the way it felt–small, with a slick paperback and a comfortable binding. Reading is usually an experience that uses several senses for me; I am a very tactile person, and if a book doesn’t “feel” right in my hands, my enjoyment of the tale is greatly diminished.
ANYWAY, this was a nice book. I actually wrote down the other titles in the series for future reference (I’m trying to read about the histories of different countries). The problem with China is that it has a LOT of history, and that history is so completely different from American/European history, because the cultures are worlds apart. Still, Haw did an admirable job of succinctly summarizing large batches of history in a way that was interesting and useful. It isn’t his fault that there were so many different names for me to try to remember!
I really could have used some better maps, and some more maps (I LOVE MAPS), but overall this book was an intriguing account of a fascinating country. Haw also did a fairly good job of keeping his own opinions out of the book, although his obvious support for China’s abortion-enforced single-child family policy was a little disturbing. Still, I would recommend this book for someone looking for a nice overview of the country’s history (especially if, like myself, you are as far from being an expert on Chinese culture as can be), and I look forward to perusing other titles in the series.