Foundations of Chinese Civilization: The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty (2697 BCE – 200 CE), by Jing Liu, is the first in a planned four part series on the history of China. The presentation is in a comic book format. This book of 157 pages allows one who has limited knowledge of Chinese history to gain some basic understanding of that history. While approximately 3,000 years of that history is presented in these pages, it provides a structure for learning using the graphic illustrations of the geography, movements of people and armies, the leaders and evolving philosophies, the economics, and the outside forces impacting the development of China. The illustrations of the leaders reflect images and statues of these individuals. The black and white drawings are clear and simple with no overbearing detail or crowding to confuse or dilute the information presented. There is a nice flow between subjects being presented. There are scattered lists and bullet points within the pages to clarify information. At the beginning of the book there are two time lines which lay out the major elements of the 3,000 year history and the 9 important dynasties. Review of this author’s previous publications identifies a similar series (Understanding China through Comics) on the history of Chinese civilization, and this book and the ones to follow are a re-publishing of the series.
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