Dieter Kuhn. The Age of Confucian Rule: The Song Transformation of China. Cambridge, MA, and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009. 356 pp. Hardcover $35.00, isbn 978-0-674-03146-3. Denis C. Twitchett and Paul Jakov Smith, editors. The Cambridge History of China, Volume 5, Part 1, The Sung Dynasty and Its Precursors, 9071279. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. xxii, 1095 pages. Hardcover $180.00, isbn 978-0-521-81248-1. The general or overall history of the Song (sometimes spelled "Sung") dynasty (9601279), as it is described in many modern sources, runs something like this: Externally, the Song was a weak dynasty because it failed to fend off its belligerent non-Chinese neighbors to the north and west (weak Chinese emperors, nefarious ministers, and misguided political factions are always blamed). This failure led to the occupation of north China in the 1120s by the Jin (or Jurchen), a warlike Tungusic people originally from Manchuria, and the later loss of all China to the Mongols in 1279. At the same time, however, these histories also relate that internally the Song was a glorious period in Chinese history that "emerged as the most advanced civilization on earth" (Kuhn, dust jacket) and, because of its numerous achievements,
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 6, 2009
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