This engaging, deeply informed book provides the first concise history of one of China's most important eras. Leading scholar John W. Dardess offers a thematically organized political, social, and economic exploration of China from 1368 to 1644. He examines how the Ming dynasty was able to endure for 276 years, illuminating Ming foreign relations and border control, the lives and careers of its sixteen emperors, its system of governance and the kinds of people who served it, its great class of literati, and finally the mass outlawry that, in unhappy conjunction with the Manchu invasions from outside, ended the once-mighty dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century. The Ming dynasty witnessed the beginning of China's contact with the West, and its story will fascinate all readers interested in global as well as Asian history.
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