China is the most populous country on earth, with the longest history of any modern nation. In the 21st century, it is clear that China's future, as a political and economic world power, is set to be as significant as its past, and its achievements still depend upon its people. This book tells the story of China through 96 short biographies. We see the range of Chinese cultural and scientific achievements, as well as its military conquests, wars, rebellions and political and philosophical movements, through the eyes of real people who created - or were caught up by - them. Here is a colourful array of very different men and women: emperors and empresses, concubines, officials and political figures, rebels, exiles, philosophers, writers and poets, artists, musicians, scientists, military leaders and committed pacifists. Their careers, achievements, misdeeds, disasters, punishments, ideas and love stories make this an unforgettable read. The expert authors have drawn on a huge range of sources to assemble information about the widest possible range of individuals from all periods and parts of China, from an early warrior lady of the 13th century bc, Fu Hao, to the late-20th-century Communist leader Deng Xiaoping.
Introduction; 96 Lives in four chronological sections, each with a brief historical introduction: 1. The Shang to Han dynasties (c. 16th century bc to AD 220); 2. The period of disunion to the Sui, Tang dynasties (220-907); 3. The period of disunion to the Yuan dynasty (907-1386); 4. The Ming dynasty to the People's Republic of China (1368 to the present)