Home » Century Past » Books » History of China

History of China Books – Books about Ancient China

History of China books, books about ancient China, modern China. Hundreds of free books online. Chinese culture and civilization, Imperial China, Communism in China, Economic History of modern China, China-American relations, more.

History of China Books – Ancient China Books – Collection

More than 2,800 free online history of China books at the Internet Archive. Be patient as the page loads. Some book titles: Great Wall of China, An Oral History of Contemporary China, Concise History of China from Its Origin to the Present, The Frontiers of China, Cambridge History of Ancient China, Main Themes in Pre-modern Chinese History, Modern China: an encyclopedia of history, A Concise Economic History of Modern China, Mao’s China: a history of the People’s Republic, China Past – China Future, The People’s Republic of China: a concise political history, A History of Sino-American Relations, A Short History of Nationalist China, The History of Imperial China: a research guide, The Rise of Red China, many more books on the History of China. History of China books, ancient China books.

Books & Documents about the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) – Collection

This Hathi Trust collection of 65 items has books and documents published from 1899 to 1915 about the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) in China.

The Chinese

Becker, Jasper
Free Press 2000        Dewey Dec.    951

“Jasper Becker, China’s premier western correspondent, strips the country of its myths and captures the Chinese as they really live. For nearly two decades Becker has lived in China, and reported from areas where most visitors do not reach. Here he is at his most candid, reporting from all over the country: from tiny, crowded homes in the swollen cities of the southeast rim to a vast, secret network of thousands of defense bunkers in the northwest. He exposes Chinese society in all of its layers: from remote, illiterate peasants; to the rising classes of businessmen; to local despots; the twenty grades of Party apparatchicks; to the dominant, comparatively small caste of Party leaders who are often ignorant of the people they rule. Becker lets the Chinese speak for themselves, in voices that are rich and moving. He teaches a great deal about the magnitude–and the false face–of China’s vaunted economic boom, and further shows the pervasive institutionalized crime that has risen out of economic poverty. ” -Publisher. History of China books, ancient China books.

See our free Japanese history books

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II

Chang, Iris
Penguin 1998        Dewey Dec.    951

“In December 1937, in what was then the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking (Nanjing) and within weeks not only looted and burned the defenseless city but systematically raped, tortured, and murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents in four different languages (many never before published), Iris Chang, whose own grandparents barely escaped the massacre, has written what will surely be the definitive, English-language history of this horrifying episode–one that the Japanese have tried for years to erase from public consciousness. “The Rape of Nanking” tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers who performed it; of the Chinese civilians who endured it; and finally of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. ” -Publisher. History of China book, books about China history.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Chang, Jung
Flamingo 1993        Dewey Dec.    951

“The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history. An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.” -Publisher. Books on the history of modern China.

Buddhism in China, A Historical Survey

Chen, Kenneth K. S.
Princeton Univ. 1964        Dewey Dec.    951

A volume in the series ‘Princeton Studies in the History of Religions.’ Books about Chinese history, Ancient Chinese history.

China

Cheng, Peter, ed.
Clio Press 1983

A volume in the Clio Press “World Bibliographical Series”. Comprised of annotated entries on works dealing with the country’s history, geography, economy and politics; and with its people, their culture, customs, religion and social organization. Attention is paid to current living conditions; housing, education, newspapers, clothing, etc.

Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City

Dong, Stella
Morrow 2000        Dewey Dec.    951

An account of a city legendary for decadence, violence, and greedy imperialism. Dong meticulously details the European commercial interests that deliberately promoted opium trafficking and exploited the land and people of Shanghai with every conceivable vice for nearly 100 years.” -Booklist. Books about Chinese history, China history books.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of China

Ebrey, Patricia Buckley
Cambridge Univ. 1999        Dewey Dec.    951

“In this sumptuously illustrated single-volume history, noted historian Patricia Ebrey traces the origins of Chinese culture from prehistoric times to the present. She follows its development from the rise of Confucianism, Buddhism, and the great imperial dynasties to the Mongol, Manchu, and Western intrusions and the modern communist state. Her scope is phenomenal–embracing Chinese arts, culture, economics, society and its treatment of women, foreign policy, emigration, and politics, including the key uprisings of 1919 and 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Both a comprehensive introduction to an extraordinary civilization, and an expert exploration of the continuities and disjunctures of Chinese history, Professor Ebrey’s book has become an indispensable guide to China past and present.” -Publisher. History of China textbook, ancient China books, books about Chinese history, book on history of modern China.

Macau

Edmonds, Richard L, ed.
Clio Press 1989

A volume in the Clio Press “World Bibliographical Series”. Comprised of annotated entries on works dealing with the country’s history, geography, economy and politics; and with its people, their culture, customs, religion and social organization. Attention is paid to current living conditions; housing, education, newspapers, clothing, etc.

See our articles on the history of the British Empire

China: A New History

Fairbank, John K.
Belknap 1992        Dewey Dec.    951

“Bringing to bear 60 years of research, travel, and teaching, Fairbank weaves a detailed history that reaches from China’s neolithic days to its troubled present. He depicts a country ever-changing and yet constant in its effort to achieve a cohesive identity, an enormous and enormously complex nation perpetually balancing between the imperatives of force and the power of ideas. Here are the Chinese autocrats in their various times and guises, maintaining Confucian civility and order through – paradoxically – the perpetual threat of irrational imperial violence. Here is the intellectual class, revered for its wisdom and counsel and yet – as events from the Cultural Revolution to the massacre in Tiananmen Square demonstrate – eminently expendable. And here are China’s farmers engaged in a never-ending attempt to tame their countryside only to face repeated famine as China’s agrarian-based economy fails to develop. At the centre of all stands the Chinese family, until recently the model for both obedience and tyranny in society at large.” -Publisher. History of China textbook, Ancient Chinese history book, history of modern China book.

The Great Chinese Revolution, 1800-1985

Fairbank, John K.
Harper & Row 1986        Dewey Dec.    951

“This book shows how the Chinese people, from the years 1800-1985, were beset by forces of change from both within and without. From outside came five wars of foreign aggression, from the Anglo-Chinese Opium War of 1839-42 to the eight years of Japanese invasion, 1937-45. During the same era, there were five revolutionary civil wars within China: the massive Taiping Rebellion of 1850-64; the Republican Revolution of 1911; the part-way Nationalist Revolution of 1925-28 for unity against foreign imperialism; the Kuomintang-Communist civil war of 1945-49; and the ten years of Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution, 1966-76.” -Publisher. The history of China books.

The Dynasties of China

Gascoigne, Bamber
Carroll & Graf 2003        Dewey Dec.    951

“Focusing upon the incidents and personalities that epitomize most vividly each of the dynasties, this lucidly narrated volume, beautifully illustrated by a lavish selection of color photographs, places in their historical context the images that came to define imperial China from its origins in 1600 B.C. to the revolution of Sun Yat-sen in October 1911. It provides a background to China’s turbulent twentieth century, which is surveyed in an informative postscript, highlighting such events as the troubled presidency of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tse-tung’s ruthless Cultural Revolution, and the 1989 student protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.” -Publisher. History of China books.

A History of Chinese Civilization

Gernet, Jacques
Cambridge Univ. 1996        Dewey Dec.    951

“Written with an elegant and flowing narrative, the essential virtue of Jacques Gernet’s classic book is to see the history of Chinese civilization as a whole. Yet within the synthesis of the trends – social, political, religious, scientific, artistic that make up China’s past and present, the author never loses sight of the telling detail which brings history to life. A History of Chinese Civilization is illustrated with a wide range of photographs, many maps, line drawings and tables. A detailed chronological table and full bibliography complement the text.” -Publisher. History of China book, books about ancient China.

China’s Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture

Hucker, Charles O.
Stanford Univ. 1975        Dewey Dec.    951

“A work unique in the sweep of its design and scope, intended expressly for the general reader interested in human history and culture, this is a vivid panoramic survey of the vast course of Chinese civilization from prehistory to 1850, when the old China began the agonizing transition to the new. Not only does it treat the three major periods of Chinese history at roughly equal length, weaving all their complexity into a balanced, integrated whole, but it gives ample space to China’s magnificent literary and artistic achievements. The author’s approach is primarily interpretive, emphasizing patterns of change and development rather than factual details, but he never loses sight of the particularities that made traditional Chinese civilization one of the richest in human history. Especially notable are the many translations of Chinese poetry, among them more than twenty exquisite poems from the great poets of the T’ang.” – Publisher. History of China books.

See our free articles about the prehistoric era

China: A Global Studies Handbook

LaFleur, Robert Andre
ABC-CLIO 2003

This volume offers readers a concise, single-stop introduction to Chinese history, culture, economics, politics, and social issues. As they trace China’s history from the creation stories of ancient Chinese myths to the Communist upheaval of the 20th century, readers will learn how the country has changed–and not changed–from early to modern times, and what life throughout China is like today.

China Between Empires: The Northern and Southern Dynasties

Lewis, Mark Edward
Belknap 2009        Dewey Dec.    951

“After the collapse of the Han dynasty in the third century CE, China divided along a north-south line. Mark Lewis traces the changes that both underlay and resulted from this split in a period that saw the geographic redefinition of China, more engagement with the outside world, significant changes to family life, developments in the literary and social arenas, and the introduction of new religions. By the time China was reunited by the Sui dynasty in 589 CE, the elite had been drawn into the state order, and imperial power had assumed a more transcendent nature. The Chinese were incorporated into a new world system in which they exchanged goods and ideas with states that shared a common Buddhist religion. The centuries between the Han and the Tang thus had a profound and permanent impact on the Chinese world.” – Publisher

The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

Meyer, Michael J.
Walker 2009        Dewey Dec.    951

“Journalist Michael Meyer has spent his adult life in China, first in a small village as a Peace Corps volunteer, the last decade in Beijing–where he has witnessed the extraordinary transformation the country has experienced in that time. For the past two years he has been completely immersed in the ancient city, living on one of its famed hutong in a century-old courtyard home he shares with several families, teaching English at a local elementary school–while all around him “progress” closes in as the neighborhood is methodically destroyed to make way for high-rise buildings, shopping malls, and other symbols of modern, urban life. The tension of preservation vs. modernization–the question of what, in an ancient civilization, counts as heritage, and what happens when a billion people want to live the way Americans do–suffuse Meyer’s story. ” – Publisher. History of China books.

You may like our History of Asia book collection.

The Chinese War: An Account of All the Operations of the British Forces from the Commencement to the Treaty of Nanking

Ouchterlony, John, Lieut.
London: Saunders and Otley 1844        Dewey Dec.    951

“The Chinese War offers a complete history of the Opium Wars, including information on specific battles, the lives of historical figures and a detailed political analysis.” – Publisher. History of China book.

Encyclopedia of China: The Essential Reference to China, Its History and Culture

Perkins, Dorothy
Facts on File 1999        Dewey Dec.    951

“Presents a representative cross-section of entries on all aspects of the history and culture of China. Alphabetically organized, the entries include: – major cities and provinces, – historical eras and figures, – government and politics, – economics, – religion, – language and the writing system, – food and customs, – sports and martial arts, – crafts and architecture, – important Chinese figures outside of mainland China, – important Westerners in China.” – Publisher.

The Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China’s War on Foreigners that Shook the World in the Summer of 1900

Preston, Diana
Walker 2000        Dewey Dec.    951

“In the final years of the 19th century, China was in grave danger of becoming a colony of the West. While various powers bickered over how to slice the pie, their very presence in China, like their new technologies and Christian missions, undermined the people’s traditional ways. A strange, reactionary movement—mystical, nationalistic and virulently anti Christian—began to spread like wildfire among the Chinese peasants. The contemptuous foreigners, snickering at their martial-arts routines, nicknamed them “The Boxers.” Few could imagine that the Boxers would receive backing from China’s Empress Dowager, herself eager for a showdown with the foreigners, and would soon terrorize them and the world. The Boxer Rebellion is a panoramic chronicle of the uprising and ensuing two-month siege of the 11 foreign ministries in Peking (now Beijing), and of the foreign community in Tientsin (now Tianjin) during the summer of 1900—an event whose repercussions have echoed throughout the intervening century. It left tens of thousands of Chinese dead, precipitated the end of dynastic rule in China, and has tainted China’s relationship with the wider world to this day. It is also a richly human story.” – Publisher. History of China books, Ancient Chinese history free.

See our free guides to historical fiction

China from Manchu to Mao (1699-1976)

Roberson, John R.
Atheneum 1980        Dewey Dec.    951

A history of China during the last three centuries, from the time Western nations began to play an important part in Chinese affairs.

Hong Kong

Scott, Ian, ed.
Clio Press 1990

A volume in the Clio Press “World Bibliographical Series”. Comprised of annotated entries on works dealing with the country’s history, geography, economy and politics; and with its people, their culture, customs, religion and social organization. Attention is paid to current living conditions; housing, education, newspapers, clothing, etc.

The Long March: The True History of Communist China’s Founding Myth

Shuyun, Sun
Doubleday 2006        Dewey Dec.    951

“”Sun Shuyun uncovers the true story behind the mythic march of Mao’s soldiers across China, exposing the famine, disease, and desertion behind the legend.In 1934, in the midst of civil war, the Communist party and its 200,000 soldiers were forced from their bases by Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist troops. Led by Mao Tse Tung, they set off on a strategic retreat to the barren north of China, thousands of miles away. As Sun Shuyun travels along the march route, her interviews with survivors and villagers show that the forces at work during the days of the revolution – poverty, sickness, and Mao’s use of terror, propaganda, and ruthless purges – have shaped modern China irrevocably. Uncovering the forced recruitment, political infighting, and futile deaths behind the myth, Shuyun creates a compelling narrative of a turning point in modern Chinese history, and a fascinating journey that spans China, old and new.” – Publisher. History of China books.

China: A History in Art

Smith, Bradley
Doubleday 1972        Dewey Dec.    951

“Within this handsome book is a key to understanding the long road that China, one of the great powers of the ancient and the modern world, has traveled in its dramatic history. It also provides a colorful guide to the course of Chinese art from the Neolithic Age to the eve of its industrialization and re-emergence on the world stage.” -Publisher. History of China book.

The Chan’s Great Continent: China in Western Minds

Spence, Jonathan D.
Norton 1998        Dewey Dec.    951

“China has transfixed the West since the earliest contacts between these civilizations. With his characteristic elegance and insight, Jonathan Spence explores how the West has understood China over seven centuries. Ranging from Marco Polo’s own depiction of China and the mighty Khan, Kublai, in the 1270s to the China sightings of three twentieth-century writers of acknowledged genius-Kafka, Borges, and Calvino-Spence conveys Western thought on China through a remarkable array of expression. Peopling Spence’s account are Iberian adventurers, Enlightenment thinkers, spinners of the dreamy cult of Chinoiserie, and American observers such as Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Ezra Pound, and Eugene O’Neill. Taken together, these China sightings tell us as much about the self-image of the West as about China. ” – Publisher. History of China books, Ancient Chinese history free.

The Search for Modern China

Spence, Jonathan D.
Norton 1990        Dewey Dec.    951

Spence’s “own sense of China’s past is so vivid, his understanding so sure and his writer’s skill so powerful that the reader apprehends distant events as if they were contemporary.” -New Statesman

Free cookbooks PDF on our food and drinks page

Understanding China: A Guide to China’s Economy, History, and Political Structure

Starr, John Bryan
Hill and Wang 1997        Dewey Dec.    951

“John Starr offers all the background material, basic data, and analysis of the issues at stake that are needed to grasp the truths in China’s crisis-ridden present situation. The purpose of Understanding China is to enable any reader to ask and even answer such questions as: What is the capacity of China’s political system to deal successfully with the principal problems confronting the nation today – the inflammatory Taiwan issue, the future of Hong Kong, the maintenance of economic growth while the global political climate seems to be changing, the management of an orderly succession in the political leadership? Indeed, how will China be governed? And what are the likely ways in which the United States can or will influence its affairs?” – Publisher.

Narrative of the North China Campaign of 1860 …

Containing Personal Experiences of Chinese Character, and of the Moral and Social Condition of the Country; Together with a Description of the Interior of Pekin

Swinhoe, Robert
London: Smith, Elder 1861        Dewey Dec.    951

History of China book.

Visiting China’s Past: A Guide to Sites and Resources

Thorp, Robert L.
Floating World 2006        Dewey Dec.    951

“In twenty-four short essays, Professor Robert Thorp takes the reader on a guided tour of some of the most important archaeological discoveries in China of the last century. These sites start with the “cave home” of Peking Man near Beijing and conclude with the tomb of the Wanli emperor (d. 1620) in the Ming valley north of the capital. While some of these sites were always known of, if not excavated, many of these finds opened new chapters in Chinese history, art, and culture.” -Publisher. books about ancient China.

Modern China: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism

Wang, Ke-wen
Garland 1998        Dewey Dec.    951

“Charts Western influence and national development. Beginning with the mid-19th century, when China encountered the West and began to enter the modern age, this encyclopedia offers an overview of the world’s largest and most populous nation. The coverage includes not only major political topics, but also surveys the arts, business, literature, education, journalism, and all other major aspects of the nation’s social, cultural, and economic life. Special emphasis throughout is on the dramatic changes that have taken place in the country since the end of World War II. There are entries on national political leaders and key thinkers, major events and trends in the nation’s history, institutions, organizations, and currents of thought that led to the emergence of the modern nation. The encyclopedia’s longer essays offer detailed and insightful surveys of censorship, important eras, literary movements, powerful social groups, anti-imperialism campaigns, Five Year Plans, the Sino-Vietnamese War, economic breakthroughs, and other vital topics.” – Publisher. History of China book.

Modern China

Xiaobing Li
ABC-CLIO 2015

“In Modern China, author Xiaobing Li offers a resource far beyond a conventional encyclopedia, providing not only comprehensive coverage of Chinese civilization and traditions, but also addressing the values, issues, and critical views of China. As a result, readers will better understand the transformative experience of the most populous country in the world, and will grasp the complexity of the progress and problems behind the rise of China to a world superpower in less than 30 years….” – Publisher

Scroll to Top