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Review: Library Journal on Jing Liu's "Foundations of Chinese Civilization"

Michael Palmer - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We are very excited to share a new review from Library Journal's Graphic Novel Department of Jing Liu's Foundations of Chinese Civilization (vol. 1): The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty (2697 BCE - 220 CE).

Check out the review!

Jing Liu. Foundations of Chinese Civilization: The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty (2697 BCE–220 CE). Stone Bridge. (Understanding China Through Comics, Vol. 1). May 2016. 168p. maps. ISBN 9781611720273. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781611729184. HIST

In 1907, an American missionary in China named Arthur Smith lamented that “Chinese history is remote, it is monotonous, obscure and worse than all there is far too much of it.” Fortunately, today the graphic nonfiction format provides an accessible way to introduce and explain unfamiliar material, a goal ably met here by Liu (managing director, Moli Design). First self-published in 2011, then revised and expanded in 2014, this retitled mass-market edition is the first volume of Liu’s four-book series. Augmenting simple and effective black-and-white cartoons with maps and charts, the work provides an overview of the rise and fall of China’s early dynasties from the perspectives of both the rulers and the ruled, including the origins of the Great Wall and the Silk Road trading route. Along with his accounts of political, military, and economic conflicts, Liu concisely explains various schools of Chinese philosophical thought and incorporates occasional personal narratives, including the lives of Confucius and of Cai Lun, the inventor of paper. VERDICT This direct, appealing introduction to the foundations of one of the world’s oldest civilizations is recommended for teens and adults.—SR


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