John Dardess has selected a region of great political and intellectual importance, but one which local history has left almost untouched, for this detailed social history of T'ai-ho county during the Ming dynasty. Rather than making a sweeping, general survey of the region, he follows the careers of a large number of native sons and their relationship to Ming imperial politics. Using previously unexplored primary sources, Dardess details the rise and development of T'ai-ho village kinship, family lineage, landscape, agriculture, and economy. He follows its literati to positions of prominence in imperial government. This concentration on the history of one county over almost three centuries gives rise to an unusually sound and immediate understanding of how Ming society functioned and changed over time.
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