The Making of a New Rural Order in South China: Volume 1: I. Village, Land, and Lineage in Huizhou, 900–1600

Cambridge University Press
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Among the large caches of private documents discovered and collected in China, few rival the Huizhou sources for the insight they provide into Chinese local society and economy over the past millennium. Having spent decades researching these exceptionally rich sources, Joseph P. McDermott presents in two volumes his findings about the major social and economic changes in this important prefecture of south China from around 900 to 1700. In this first volume, we learn about village settlement, competition among village religious institutions, premodern agricultural production, the management of land and lineage, the rise of the lineage as the dominant institution, and its members' application of commercial practices to local forestry operations. This landmark study of religious life and economic activity, of lineage and land, and of rural residents and urban commercial practices provides a compelling new framework for understanding a distinctive path of economic and social development for premodern China and beyond.
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About the author

Joseph P. McDermott is Reader in Chinese History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John's College. He has published widely on the pre-modern social and economic history of China.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Nov 28, 2013
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9781107662834
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
History / Asia / General
History / Medieval
History / Renaissance
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In this learned, yet readable, book, Joseph McDermott introduces the history of the book in China in the late imperial period from 1000 to 1800. He assumes little knowledge of Chinese history or culture and compares the Chinese experience with books with that of other civilizations, particularly the European. Yet he deals with a wide range of issues in the history of the book in China and presents novel analyses of the changes in Chinese woodblock bookmaking over these centuries. He presents a new view of when the printed book replaced the manuscript and what drove that substitution. He explores the distribution and marketing structure of books, and writes fascinatingly on the history of book collecting and about access to private and government book collections. In drawing on a great deal of Chinese, Japanese, and Western research this book provides a broad account of the way Chinese books were printed, distributed, and consumed by literati and scholars, mainly in the lower Yangzi delta, the cultural center of China during these centuries. It introduces interesting personalities, ranging from wily book collectors to an indigent shoe-repairman collector. And, it discusses the obstacles to the formation of a truly national printed culture for both the well-educated and the struggling reader in recent times. This broad and comprehensive account of the development of printed Chinese culture from 1000 to 1800 is written for anyone interested in the history of the book. It also offers important new insights into book culture and its place in society for the student of Chinese history and culture. 'A brilliant piece of synthetic research as well as a delightful read, it offers a history of the Chinese book to the eighteenth century that is without equal.' - Timothy Brook, University of British Columbia 'Writers, scribes, engravers, printers, binders, publishers, distributors, dealers, literati, scholars, librarians, collectors, voracious readers — the full gamut of a vibrant book culture in China over one thousand years — are examined with eloquence and perception by Joseph McDermott in The Social History of the Book. His lively exploration will be of consuming interest to bibliophiles of every persuasion.' - Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness, Patience and Fortitude, A Splendor of Letters, and Every Book Its Reader Joseph McDermott is presently Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and University Lecturer in Chinese at Cambridge University. He has published widely on Chinese social and economic history, most recently on the economy of the Song (or, Sung) dynasty for the Cambridge History of China. He has edited State and Court Ritual in China and Art and Power in East Asia.
The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world.

Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order.

But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope
of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history.

In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made.


From the Hardcover edition.
Andrei Lankov has gone where few outsiders have ever been. A native of the former Soviet Union, he lived as an exchange student in North Korea in the 1980s. He has studied it for his entire career, using his fluency in Korean and personal contacts to build a rich, nuanced understanding. In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state. After providing an accessible history of the nation, he turns his focus to what North Korea is, what its leadership thinks, and how its people cope with living in such an oppressive and poor place. He argues that North Korea is not irrational, and nothing shows this better than its continuing survival against all odds. A living political fossil, it clings to existence in the face of limited resources and a zombie economy, manipulating great powers despite its weakness. Its leaders are not ideological zealots or madmen, but perhaps the best practitioners of Machiavellian politics that can be found in the modern world. Even though they preside over a failed state, they have successfully used diplomacy-including nuclear threats-to extract support from other nations. But while the people in charge have been ruthless and successful in holding on to power, Lankov goes on to argue that this cannot continue forever, since the old system is slowly falling apart. In the long run, with or without reform, the regime is unsustainable. Lankov contends that reforms, if attempted, will trigger a dramatic implosion of the regime. They will not prolong its existence. Based on vast expertise, this book reveals how average North Koreans live, how their leaders rule, and how both survive.
This volume provides the first comparative survey of the relations between the two most active book worlds in Eurasia between 1450 and 1850. Prominent scholars in book history explore different approaches to publishing, printing, and book culture. They discuss the extent of technology transfer and book distribution between the two regions and show how much book historians of East Asia and Europe can learn from one another by raising new questions, exploring remarkable similarities and differences in these regions’ production, distribution, and consumption of books. 


The chapters in turn show different ways of writing transnational comparative history. Whereas recent problems confronting research on European books can instruct researchers on East Asian book production, so can the privileged role of noncommercial publications in the East Asian textual record highlight for historians of the European book the singular contribution of commercial printing and market demands to the making of the European printed record. Likewise, although production growth was accompanied in both regions by a wider distribution of books, woodblock technology’s simplicity and mobility allowed for a shift in China of its production and distribution sites farther down the hierarchy of urban sites than was common in Europe. And, the different demands and consumption practices within these two regions’ expanding markets led to different genre preferences and uses as well as to the growth of distinctive female readerships. A substantial introduction pulls the work together and the volume ends with an essay that considers how these historical developments shape the present book worlds of Eurasia.

“This splendid volume offers expert new insight into the ways of producing, financing, distributing, and reading printed books in early modern Europe and East Asia. This is comparative history at its best, which leaves us with a better understanding of each context and of the challenges common to book cultures across space and time.”
—Ann Blair, author of Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age and professor of history, Harvard University

“This engrossing account of the history of the book by leading specialists on the European and East Asian publishing worlds takes stock of what we know—and how much we still need to know—about the places that books had in the lives of our early modern forebears. Each chapter is masterful state-of-the-field coverage of its subject, and together they set a new standard for future studies of the book, East and West.”
—Timothy Brook, author of The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions—with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:

- China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West?

- Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?

- What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world. 
In this learned, yet readable, book, Joseph McDermott introduces the history of the book in China in the late imperial period from 1000 to 1800. He assumes little knowledge of Chinese history or culture and compares the Chinese experience with books with that of other civilizations, particularly the European. Yet he deals with a wide range of issues in the history of the book in China and presents novel analyses of the changes in Chinese woodblock bookmaking over these centuries. He presents a new view of when the printed book replaced the manuscript and what drove that substitution. He explores the distribution and marketing structure of books, and writes fascinatingly on the history of book collecting and about access to private and government book collections. In drawing on a great deal of Chinese, Japanese, and Western research this book provides a broad account of the way Chinese books were printed, distributed, and consumed by literati and scholars, mainly in the lower Yangzi delta, the cultural center of China during these centuries. It introduces interesting personalities, ranging from wily book collectors to an indigent shoe-repairman collector. And, it discusses the obstacles to the formation of a truly national printed culture for both the well-educated and the struggling reader in recent times. This broad and comprehensive account of the development of printed Chinese culture from 1000 to 1800 is written for anyone interested in the history of the book. It also offers important new insights into book culture and its place in society for the student of Chinese history and culture. 'A brilliant piece of synthetic research as well as a delightful read, it offers a history of the Chinese book to the eighteenth century that is without equal.' - Timothy Brook, University of British Columbia 'Writers, scribes, engravers, printers, binders, publishers, distributors, dealers, literati, scholars, librarians, collectors, voracious readers — the full gamut of a vibrant book culture in China over one thousand years — are examined with eloquence and perception by Joseph McDermott in The Social History of the Book. His lively exploration will be of consuming interest to bibliophiles of every persuasion.' - Nicholas A. Basbanes, author of A Gentle Madness, Patience and Fortitude, A Splendor of Letters, and Every Book Its Reader Joseph McDermott is presently Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and University Lecturer in Chinese at Cambridge University. He has published widely on Chinese social and economic history, most recently on the economy of the Song (or, Sung) dynasty for the Cambridge History of China. He has edited State and Court Ritual in China and Art and Power in East Asia.
This volume provides the first comparative survey of the relations between the two most active book worlds in Eurasia between 1450 and 1850. Prominent scholars in book history explore different approaches to publishing, printing, and book culture. They discuss the extent of technology transfer and book distribution between the two regions and show how much book historians of East Asia and Europe can learn from one another by raising new questions, exploring remarkable similarities and differences in these regions’ production, distribution, and consumption of books. 


The chapters in turn show different ways of writing transnational comparative history. Whereas recent problems confronting research on European books can instruct researchers on East Asian book production, so can the privileged role of noncommercial publications in the East Asian textual record highlight for historians of the European book the singular contribution of commercial printing and market demands to the making of the European printed record. Likewise, although production growth was accompanied in both regions by a wider distribution of books, woodblock technology’s simplicity and mobility allowed for a shift in China of its production and distribution sites farther down the hierarchy of urban sites than was common in Europe. And, the different demands and consumption practices within these two regions’ expanding markets led to different genre preferences and uses as well as to the growth of distinctive female readerships. A substantial introduction pulls the work together and the volume ends with an essay that considers how these historical developments shape the present book worlds of Eurasia.

“This splendid volume offers expert new insight into the ways of producing, financing, distributing, and reading printed books in early modern Europe and East Asia. This is comparative history at its best, which leaves us with a better understanding of each context and of the challenges common to book cultures across space and time.”
—Ann Blair, author of Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age and professor of history, Harvard University

“This engrossing account of the history of the book by leading specialists on the European and East Asian publishing worlds takes stock of what we know—and how much we still need to know—about the places that books had in the lives of our early modern forebears. Each chapter is masterful state-of-the-field coverage of its subject, and together they set a new standard for future studies of the book, East and West.”
—Timothy Brook, author of The Troubled Empire: China in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties
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