The Troubled Empire

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Harvard University Press, Oct 30, 2010 - History - 335 pages
"The Mongol takeover in the 1270s changed the course of Chinese history. The Confucian empire—a millennium and a half in the making—was suddenly thrust under foreign occupation. What China had been before its reunification as the Yuan dynasty in 1279 was no longer what it would be in the future. Four centuries later, another wave of steppe invaders would replace the Ming dynasty with yet another foreign occupation. The Troubled Empire explores what happened to China between these two dramatic invasions. If anything defined the complex dynamics of this period, it was changes in the weather. Asia, like Europe, experienced a Little Ice Age, and as temperatures fell in the thirteenth century, Kublai Khan moved south into China. His Yuan dynasty collapsed in less than a century, but Mongol values lived on in Ming institutions. A second blast of cold in the 1630s, combined with drought, was more than the dynasty could stand, and the Ming fell to Manchu invaders. Against this background—the first coherent ecological history of China in this period—Timothy Brook explores the growth of autocracy, social complexity, and commercialization, paying special attention to China’s incorporation into the larger South China Sea economy. These changes not only shaped what China would become but contributed to the formation of the early modern world."
 

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User Review  - xiaomarlo - www.librarything.com

I previously read the book on the Qing Dynasty in this series, and I much prefer this one. The Qing one is extremely dry by comparison. I especially love the second half of the book, which focuses on ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Dragon Spotting
6
2 Scale
24
3 The Nine Sloughs
50
4 Khan and Emperor
79
5 Economy and Ecology
106
6 Families
134
7 Beliefs
161
Conclusion
260
Temperature and Precipitation Extremes
269
The Nine Sloughs
270
Succession of Emperors
271
Pronunciation Guid
273
Notes
274
Bibliography
297
Acknowledgments
317

8 The Business of Things
186
9 The South China Sea
213
10 Collapse
238

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About the author (2010)

Timothy Brook is Professor of History at the University of British Columbia.

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