{short description of image}  



Julia Lovell
Grove Press
New York, USA, 2006


This is a very interesting book - out of many on the Chinese Great Wall. It is 412 pages, with extensive index and excellent bibliography that includes several (but not all) of Aurel Stein's reports that are also cited in the footnotes (several of his illustrations are included). Two biographies of Stein are also listed. There is also a chronology, a chronology of dynasties, and a very useful listing of important individuals. There are 6 maps and 25 useful illustrations. In 25 chapters and a conclusion the author traces the social, political, economic aspects of the wall. There is sufficient technical information for the reader to understand how the wall was built. But the author's thesis is why it was built (various reasons at different times) and what the results of its construction were (and are today) on Chinese civilization. She is critical of the 'propaganda' associated with the wall today. The author teaches Chinese history at Cambridge and has lived for extended periods in China.


But we are interested primairly for the description and commentary on the building of the Han Dynasty wall - the wall Aurel Stein found and examined. We are also interested in the discussion of the Tang Dynasty expansion into Central Asia since this also was a subject much described by Stein as well as the author's views on Stein himself. The author's descriptions of the Han and Tang eras and activities much expand on Stein's comments.


Return to Xenophon.