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3+ teosta 137 jäsentä 6 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Includes the name: Peter Perdue

Image credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

Military Culture in Imperial China (2009) — Avustaja — 37 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla

Yleistieto

Syntymäaika
1949-04-21
Sukupuoli
male
Kansalaisuus
USA

Jäseniä

Kirja-arvosteluja

I had read a couple glowing reviews of this one, so went into this with high expectations. Having read it, though, I found it something of a mixed bag.

The main subject of the book is the conquest of what's now Xinjiang by China's Qing dynasty, but Perdue throws his net very widely, including chapters on things like steppe ecology, the rise of Muscovy, and the (ab)uses of the conquest in 19C and 20C nationalist historiography. A problem here is that Perdue at times seems out of his depth when dealing with more peripheral matters.

Another problem is the confusing array of names for various subgroups of the Western Mongols that he throws at the reader without ever properly explaining how they relate to one another. Actually, after trying to make sense of it with the help of other sources I'm fairly sure that Perdue himself is confused at points.

Relatedly, Perdue expects a fair degree of background knowledge of his readers. If the intended audience, though, is fellow specialists, I might have expected more thorough citations - as it is, I found myself unable to track down a couple things I'd liked to learn more about.

That said, there's a lot of interest here, both in the form of concrete information about the conquest of Xinjiang, and in Perdue's suggestions about that conquest's wider historical impact; interest enough for me to finish a 725pp book and feel it was basically time well spent. One feels it could relatively easily have been even better, though.
… (lisätietoja)
 
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AndreasJ | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 19, 2021 |
This is a superb history that should be read by anyone with even a slight interest in the region. Perdue integrates sources from all the relevant languages and archives, takes account of all important scholarly and nationalist interpretations, and puts together a convincing synthesis full of insights and thought-provoking suggestions. This is the kind of history we need.
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languagehat | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 26, 2017 |
Outstanding discussion of the Qing conquests in central Asia in the 18th century.
 
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rnsulentic | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 12, 2013 |
I'm giving this a second read.
He argues for 'human agency' in history, and feels that previous history, of the steppe and China -- specific to this time but not only -- has refused to grant human agency to the actors in history, through too much determinative theory (eg. the typical one of the steppe, its politics and wars determined by climate fluctuations). Historians deal far too much in 'biological imagery and mechanical causation' particularly when they talk about steppe events -- as if nomads never changed, or indeed have no minds of their own. Old China, too, has a frozen feel in our written history, that he believes is quite false.

He studies change. When he writes about events he stresses 'the indeterminacy of the outcome'. The choices people had. The accidents or the off-the-cuff decisions that sent history the way it went. It might have been different. At every junction [I meant to write 'juncture', but that'll do] he wants to tell you, it might have been different.

That's an exciting sort of history to read. I met Peter Perdue in an essay in a book 'Warfare in Inner Asian History 500-1800' (editor Nicola Di Cosmo, Brill 2002), where he goes on, thrillingly, about contingency: he looks at a few campaigns (of the Qing against the Zunghars) and by dint of NOT using hindsight -- which makes results look inevitable -- he conveys a real sense of seat-of-the-pants history, that so easily might turned out another way. It struck me then that this is how a novelist operates; he tells me a historian should, too, and his history can have a novel-like 'what happens next? -- the unexpected'. A quote from that article: "After the battles have been lost and won, it is tempting to search for definitive causes of one side's victory, but it is equally important to recapture the sense of uncertainty that the protagonists experienced during the fog of war."

It's true I was bored stiff by grain transportation when I read this, but of such stuff is history on-the-ground made. We'll see the 2nd time around. To offset the exhaustive detail it has great pictures: old cannon and portraits or battle scenes by a certain Guiseppe Castiglione, Jesuit missionary who became a court painter to the Qing.
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Jakujin | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 20, 2013 |

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