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China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling (review)

China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling (review) Reviews 389 Zhengyuan Fu. China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1996. x, 177 pp. Hardcover $63.95, isbn 1-56324-779-8. Paperback $21.95, isbn 1-56324-780-1. Scholarship on Chinese legalism has been scanty, especially in contrast to that on Confucianism. For this reason, I was excited when I came across Zhengyuan Fu's China's Legalists. On reading Fu's preface, I promptiy agreed with him that China's legalists "remain little known" to Western readers and deserve to be introduced, as Fu sets out to do, to "the general Western public, including sinologists who do not specialize in ancient Chinese political philosophy." After reading Fu's volume, however, I doubt whether it can be said to live up to his good intentions at all. As he states in the introduction, Fu aims to present "both the ideas and tenets of the Legalists and a concise delineation of their practical impact in terms of institution building and state building during the imperial period of China" and to trace "the intellectual influence of the Legalists on the institutions, policies, and political praxis of the Chinese Communist Party and the PRC" (pp. 8-9). He attempts to develop two themes: http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling (review)

China Review International , Volume 4 (2) – Mar 30, 1997

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Abstract

Reviews 389 Zhengyuan Fu. China's Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1996. x, 177 pp. Hardcover $63.95, isbn 1-56324-779-8. Paperback $21.95, isbn 1-56324-780-1. Scholarship on Chinese legalism has been scanty, especially in contrast to that on Confucianism. For this reason, I was excited when I came across Zhengyuan Fu's China's Legalists. On reading Fu's preface, I promptiy agreed with him that China's legalists "remain little known" to Western readers and deserve to be introduced, as Fu sets out to do, to "the general Western public, including sinologists who do not specialize in ancient Chinese political philosophy." After reading Fu's volume, however, I doubt whether it can be said to live up to his good intentions at all. As he states in the introduction, Fu aims to present "both the ideas and tenets of the Legalists and a concise delineation of their practical impact in terms of institution building and state building during the imperial period of China" and to trace "the intellectual influence of the Legalists on the institutions, policies, and political praxis of the Chinese Communist Party and the PRC" (pp. 8-9). He attempts to develop two themes:

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 30, 1997

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