The Historical Records or Shiji is a vast history of the Chinese world from its beginnings up to the late second century BC. Its author, the Grand Historiographer Sima Qian (c. 145-86 BC), is the most famous Chinese historian and a great writer whose work has powerfully influenced Chinese and other Far Eastern literatures. The Historical Records is an immense and complex work. This translation concentrates on the vital but short-lived Qin dynasty, which unified China in 221 BC and created the vast empire that lasted until 1911. The introduction is aimed at bringing the history to a general audience, offering a lucid examination of Sima Qian in the tradition of history writing and placing the Qin dynasty in its wider historical context. This accessible new translation by one of the foremost scholars of Classical Chinese is supplemented by an index, map, and clear notes.
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