Dragon and the Foreign Devils : China and the World, 1100 BC to the Present

Author(s): Harry G. Gelber


A sweeping narrative history that tells the story of China's relations with the rest of the world over three millennia. 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. Then on to the 1949 Revolution and the Tiananmen 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 1941-1945 Pacific War of the US Navy's ability to read 'Japanese naval codes'; and from 'Madame Chiang's glamour' to 'Mao's sexual habits.'


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'As I read through Dr Harry Gelber's latest book on China, I became increasingly convinced that it would be the ideal textbook for any college course on the subject. The prose is elegant and clear, the information is comprehensive and the book is eminently readable ... Dr Gelber's book would be a dream come true for anyone teaching a China course' Dean Schulz of the College of Communications at Boston University An essential historical guide for those doing business with China today Publication in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics

Praise for OPIUM, SOLDIERS AND EVANGELICALS '...timely, intelligent, unprejudiced and readable...this is a work of intellectual as much as diplomatic history and readers will enjoy seeing old orthodoxies subverted and ingrained prejudices dissipated by Dr Gelber's persuasive insinuation of reason' Professor S.A.M. Adshead, University of Canterbury, New Zealand 'A well written, sharp-eyed and thoughtful treatment of a subject which continues to arouse interest and controversy among historians' Professor John Gregory, author of The West and China Since 1500 'Harry Gelber shows how opium was only the immediate cause of war in a conflict which was far more about the gulf between British and Chinese views of international order and the rules of trade. I enjoyed reading it immensely' Professor Lord William Wallace, London School of Economics and Political Science

Harry G. Gelber, born in 1926, read History at Cambridge before going on to do a PhD at Monash University in Australia. He has taught international politics at Boston University, Harvard, the LSE, Yale and Monash. From 1975 until 1992 he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Tasmania and remains Professor Emeritus there. Most recently he has been Visiting Scholar, Center for European Studies, Harvard University (2004-2006) and Visiting Fellow, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics (2001-2004). His many books include Nations out of Empires (2001) and Opium, Soldiers and Evangelicals (2004). He lives in Australia from where he travels regularly to the USA and Britain.

General Fields

  • : 9780747590712
  • : bloom
  • : bloom
  • : March 2007
  • : 234mm X 156mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Harry G. Gelber
  • : Paperback
  • : Export ed
  • : 951
  • : 512