China is a vast country with a long history, and one which is by itself as complex as the history of Europe. This broad expanse of time and space in Chinese history has largely been approached in terms of narrative political and cultural history in most books. The reigns of emperors and the thoughts of the great masters such as Confucius or Laozi have been the principal focus. Yet the history of the Chinese, as with any great people, is built up from the lives of individuals, families, groups, and movements. By presenting life stories of individuals ranging from ancient court diviners to late imperial merchants to women in various periods, this engaging anthology highlights aspects of Chinese social, political and intellectual history not usually addressed. Additionally, The Human Tradition in Premodern China broadens the common image and understanding of society based on the dominant elite male discourse.
Rich in new perspective and new scholarship, The Human Tradition in Premodern China is an ideal introduction to Chinese history, East Asian history, and world history.