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Historic China, and other sketches   By: (1845-1935)

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Historic China, and other sketches by Herbert Allen Giles offers readers a captivating glimpse into the rich history and culture of ancient China. The book encompasses various historical events, anecdotes, and narratives that showcase the author's deep knowledge and passion for the subject.

One of the standout qualities of Giles' book is his ability to present complex historical information in an engaging and accessible manner. He effortlessly weaves together accounts of significant moments in Chinese history, from renowned emperors to legendary battles, allowing readers to grasp the larger picture while also immersing themselves in the intricate details. Giles employs a clear and concise writing style that conveys the information concisely, making it easy for readers of all backgrounds to follow along.

What sets this book apart from others on the subject is Giles' deep appreciation for Chinese culture and his personal experiences with the country. His anecdotes and sketches not only provide valuable historical context but also add a personal touch to the narrative. These insights enrich the reading experience and help create a more comprehensive understanding of ancient China.

Furthermore, Giles' meticulous research is evident throughout the book. He draws from a vast array of primary and secondary sources, including historical texts, official records, and archaeological findings, to provide an accurate portrayal of Chinese history. This commitment to authenticity gives readers confidence in the reliability of the information presented.

While the book primarily focuses on the history of China, it also touches on other aspects, such as religion, philosophy, and art. By exploring these topics alongside historical events, Giles creates a more holistic view of ancient Chinese society. This multifaceted approach allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of the social and cultural nuances that shaped the country's development.

If I were to identify any potential drawbacks, it would be the book's brevity. Due to its nature as a collection of sketches and accounts, some readers might find themselves craving more in-depth analysis and exploration of certain periods or themes. However, Giles' purpose seems to be to provide a wide-ranging overview rather than an exhaustive examination of each topic, making it an excellent introductory resource for readers seeking a comprehensive introduction to Chinese history.

In conclusion, Historic China, and other sketches is an engaging and well-researched book that offers a fascinating exploration of ancient Chinese history. Giles' passion for the subject shines through his writing, making it an enjoyable and informative read for anyone interested in understanding one of the world's oldest civilizations.

First Page:


by Herbert A. Giles

"The institutions of a despised people cannot be judged with fairness."

Spencer's Sociology: The Bias of Patriotism.


To Warren William de la Rue, "As a mark of friendship."


The following Sketches owe their existence chiefly to frequent peregrinations in Chinese cities, with pencil and note book in hand. Some of them were written for my friend Mr. F. H. Balfour of Shanghai, and by him published in the columns of the Celestial Empire . These have been revised and partly re written; others appear now for the first time.

It seems to be generally believed that the Chinese, as a nation, are an immoral, degraded race; that they are utterly dishonest, cruel, and in every way depraved; that opium, a more terrible scourge than gin, is now working frightful ravages in their midst; and that only the forcible diffusion of Christianity can save the Empire from speedy and overwhelming ruin. An experience of eight years has taught me that, with all their faults, the Chinese are a hardworking, sober, and happy people, occupying an intermediate place between the wealth and culture, the vice and misery of the West.

H. A. G.

Sutton, Surrey, 1st November 1875.



His Imperial Majesty, Tsai Shun, deputed by Heaven to reign over all within the four seas, expired on the evening of Tuesday the 13th January 1875, aged eighteen years and nine months... Continue reading book >>

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