The Great Wall
The Extraordinary Story of China's Wonder of the World
By (author) John Man
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Great Wall by John Man
Book DescriptionThe Great Wall of China is a wonder of the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists take the five-mile journey from Beijing to climb its battlements. While myriad photographs have made this extraordinary landmark familiar to millions more, its story remains mysterious and steeped in myth. In this riveting account, John Man travels the entire length of the Great Wall and across two millennia to find the truth behind the legends. Along the way, he delves into the remarkable and complex history of China-from the countrys tribal past, through the war with the Mongols, right up to the modern day when the Great Wall is once more a commanding emblem of China, the resurgent superpower.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780306817670
(236mm x 156mm x 36mm)
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 15-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author John Man
Amazons, Hardback (June 2017)
The Amazons were fierce horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legend has it they would cut off their breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their boy children to purify their ranks. This book restores them to their rightful position as one of the most feared and revered armies the world has ever known.
Saladin, Paperback (April 2016)
Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world's preeminent hero. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, this book explores the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam.
Mongol Empire, Paperback (April 2015)
Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals: a leader of genius, driven by an inspiring vision for peaceful world rule. Believing he was divinely protected, Genghis united warring clans to create a nation and then an empire that ran across much of Asia. This book provides an account of the Mongol Empire.
Marco Polo, Paperback / softback (November 2014)» View all books by John Man
Originally published by Transworld Publishers in 2009 with the title Xanadu: Marco Polo and Europe's discovery of the East.
US Kirkus Review » A learned, lively history of the Great Wall's evolution that cuts it down to size without diminishing its allure.No, you can't see it from the moon. Nor is it an unbroken, serpentine glory of many thousand kilometers, all dressed stone and watchtowers; much of it is simply rammed dirt, sometimes a yard high. As a stone curtain keeping the northern barbarians at bay it was more of a sieve, though it did have its military uses. Sinophile Man (The Terra Cotta Army, 2008, etc.) offers a close, informed reading of historical documents as well as his observations based on many hours spent Wall-side. What emerges is a shifting, kaleidoscopic portrait - cultural, geopolitical, symbolic - that puts the mighty edifice into perspective. Man suggests that the Great Wall started as an expression of Chinese expansionism, rather than protectionism. Under the First Emperor, as China moved from city-state to nation-state in the third century BCE, the Wall marked borders, but they were fairly porous; "its main function [was] to serve China's internal political purposes: to define itself, to declare its identity to itself - and to keep its own people in line." The Han dynasty added to the Wall, which by the first century BCE also served as a road to transport goods, provide traders with safe houses and garrison soldiers. The pastoral-nomadic Mongols had no use for it and let it decay during the 12th century. After pushing them from power, the Ming dynasty embarked on a 200-year building spree designed to keep the Mongols on the other side of the Wall. The author's intent is not to diminish the Wall, but to ascertain its purposes and paint its many attitudes, from rude earth-and-reed bulwark to the fairy-tale adornment of the landscape.Man presents readers with a Wall for every season, even more awe-inspiring in its workaday clothes than in its romantic garb. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - John Man
John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in China and Mongolia. His several acclaimed books include Genghis Khan. He lives in the United Kingdom.
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