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China: Land of Dragons and Emperors by…

China: Land of Dragons and Emperors

by Adeline Yen Mah

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This book will introduce you to the most famous people and events in China during the last 2200 years. Meet the emperor who loved a woman too much, and the admiral whose fleet was so big it blocked out the sun. Discover the meaning of dragons, and why you should never give a Chinese man a green hat. Be amazed at China's many inventions, from silk, paper, printing and porcelain to crossbows, stirrups, matches, cast iron, steel and gunpowder. (from the publisher's site).
Teachers notes available from http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781741754674
  BCE_Library | Jul 9, 2014 |
Chinese history can be a complicated affair, sometimes to get your arms around it all, a simple book helps. ( )
  Newmans2001 | Feb 18, 2013 |
A book covering the highlights of Chinese History over the past 5000 years.

If you're interested in a simplified version of Chinese History then this is the book for you. The author presents information in short paragraphs focusing on one point/invention/person at a time and the whole book is roughly divided in bigger divisions following the main ruling dynasties in China. It's an informative and good read that you can cover in small doses or one large sitting.

My one gripe? The book was written in 2008 and included in every other Dynasty is the story of how they were ultimately weakened and defeated. The last chapter deals with communism in China but what is completely missing is any mention of the people's unrest with the political system and the Tienanmen Square Pro Democracy marches that turned into a massacre. It seems incredible to me to write a chapter on modern Chinese history and not mention this event.

However, the history itself is really fascinating and so rich with invention and incredible people and I did enjoy this read and learned quite a lot too.

(ps. It turns out that there are actually government restrictions on mentioning the Tienanmen Square Massacre so that explains it.) ( )
1 vote KiwiNyx | May 4, 2011 |
This is an easy to read narrative or the entire history of China. It contains interesting stories relating to the various dynasties. A very human approach to a complex and interesting culture. ( )
  msimkin | Jul 2, 2008 |
If you’re looking for a unique perspective on Chinese History, this book, written by the Chinese-born author of Falling Leaves, is a great place to start.

From the table of contents, with headings like “a great leap forward that wasn’t” and “a chairman with green teeth”, to the index – gunpowder, Treasure Fleet and tiger tally, China Land of Dragons and Emperors (Allen and Unwin, 2008) shows Adeline Yen Mah’s skill. She has the knack of not only getting to the heart of the matter, but of finding the heart that will resonate with students.

China Land of Dragons and Emperors, though packed with fascinating facts, does not have the off-putting appearance of densely written text. It is well set-out, with plenty of white space, and interspersed with text boxes, maps, black and white illustrations, and photographs.

There are so many places where Yen Mah shows her skill in targeting young readers. Like the section on the Chinese language, where she tells kids exactly what not to say to a Chinese person in Mandarin (Good one, Adeline!)

China Land of Dragons and Emperors would make a great addition to a Stage 3 classroom, or the school library. It can be read in a linear way, first looking at myth, then moving through recorded history, or dipped into via the contents and index as a reference book. With heightened interest in China because of the ‘08 Olympics, it gives students from Year 5/6 and beyond the opportunity to delve into a truly fascinating and ancient culture. ( )
  SusanStephenson | Jun 3, 2008 |
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A history of China over the last two thousand years looks at how many of the ancient beliefs still impact life today and how many of the everyday products used today throughout the world began in China.

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