This is a unique and conclusive reference work about the 6,000 individual men and women known to us from China’s formative first empires.
Over decennia Michael Loewe (Cambridge, UK) has painstakingly collected all biographical information available. Not only those are dealt with who set the literary forms and intellectual background of traditional China, such as writers, scholars, historians and philosophers, but also those officials who administered the empire, and the military leaders who fought in civil warfare or with China’s neighbours.
The work draws on primary historical sources as interpreted by Chinese, Japanese and Western scholars and as supplemented by archaeological finds and inscriptions. By devoting extensive entries to each of the emperors the author provides the reader with the necessary historical context and gives insight into the dynastic disputes and their far-reaching consequences.
No comparable work exists for this important period of Chinese history. Without exaggeration a real must for historians of both China and other cultures.
Michael Loewe, Ph.D. (1963) in Chinese Studies, London, was a Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Cambridge from 1963 to 1990, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard and Chicago. He has published widely on the dynastic, religious and institutional history of China's early empires.
Simply said, this is a work of consummate mastery and high utility. It will last for decades and beyond. All who have occasion to study the early imperioal period are deeply in Loewe’s debt for this great gift. The book and its author deserve the Prix Stanislas Julien.'
Paul W. Kroll,
Journal of the American Oriental Society, 2002.
...une mine de renseignements inestimables sur tous les aspects de la vie politique et sociale dans la Chine des Han Occidentaux.'
Review of Bibliography in Sinology, 2001.
…an invaluable resource to serious students and enlightened amateurs alike…A source book of unprecedented depth and scope, the biographical dictionary includes several features that make it far superior to any comparable work known to me…This volume now appears to me to be an unexpected boon of inestimable worth, and the debt owed to Michael Loewe for his painstaking labours is huge.'
Journal Royal Asiatic Society, 2001.
All scholars and students who are concerned with China's history, literature, philosophy and religion, and historians of other cultures seeking information, parallels and contrasts.