Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World, 1100 Bc to the Present
- Publish Date: 2007-04-15
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Harry Gregory Gelber
China is the most exciting rising power in the world today. The explosive growth of its economy and the possibility that it might soon become the next superpower, dominant in East Asia and influential in every part of the world, has attracted universal interest, admiration and envy. Most histories of China approach that huge and populous country through the story of its dynasties, its struggle to defend its borders and its internal politics. Harry Gelber's The Dragon and the Foreign Devils is the first history for the general reader to tell the story of China from the outside as well as from the inside. It explores the relationships involved, from the incursions into China of steppe horsemen around 200 BC to the Mongol conquests of the thirteenth century AD, from the first arrival of European travellers to China's decline, after 1911, into an object of the policies of the major powers, and on to the Revolution on 1949 and the Tienanmen Square protest in 1989. It explains what moved these minor and major foreign societies and how concerns with China fitted into their own major interests and views of the world. And, it outlines the recurring cycles of Chinese history, from turmoil and disorder to strong central government and back to turmoil. Informative text boxes elaborate on particular people, topics or key moments to complement the main narrative. These mini-essays deal with a wide range of topics from 'Confucius' and 'Concubines' to 'Tea' and 'Silk', and from the debilitating influence of the last nineteenth-century empress, 'Cixi', to the decisive influence on the 1941-45 Pacific War of the US Navy's ability to read 'Japanese naval codes'; and from 'Madame Chiang's' glamour to 'Mao's Sexual Habits'.