China: Its Environment and History

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Dec 16, 2011 - History - 464 pages
This deeply informed and beautifully written book provides a comprehensive and comprehensible history of China from prehistory to the present. Focusing on the interaction of humans and their environment, Robert B. Marks traces changes in the physical and cultural world that is home to a quarter of humankind. Through both word and image, this work illuminates the chaos and paradox inherent in China’s environmental narrative, demonstrating how historically sustainable practices can, in fact, be profoundly ecologically unsound. The author also reevaluates China’s traditional “heroic” storyline, highlighting the marginalization of nature that followed the spread of Chinese civilization while examining the development of a distinctly Chinese way of relating to and altering the environment. Unmatched in his ability to synthesize a complex subject clearly and cogently, Marks has written an accessible yet nuanced history for any reader interested in China, past or present. Indeed he argues successfully that all of humanity has a stake in China’s environmental future.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
11
Chapter 3
55
Chapter 4
103
Chapter 5
169
Chapter 6
223
Chapter 7
265
Chapter 8
331
Notes
347
Select Bibliography
395
Index
409
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About the author (2011)

Robert B. Marks is Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of History at Whittier College.

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