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THE GREAT WALL by Elizabeth Mann


by Elizabeth Mann & illustrated by Alan Witschonke

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-9650493-2-9
Publisher: Firefly

 A beautiful and informative entry in the Wonders of the World series in which Mann (The Brooklyn Bridge, 1996, not reviewed, etc.) meticulously outlines the building of the Great Wall as well as the thousands of years of conflict that prompted it. Detailed illustrations chronicle the Chinese people's attempts to foil violence by erecting the wall; millions of Chinese lugged stones, day in and day out, for over 200 years, to build a fortress 30 feet high over thousands of miles. A large center fold-out illustrates what an attack on the Great Wall might have looked like in the mountains north of Peking. A timeline illustrates Mongol invasions in the 13th century; a map shows the location of the Great Wall dividing China from the north where the Mongols and the Manchus roamed the steppe. A thoughtful discussion about the life of nomadic tribes on the steppe and their difference from the Chinese people illustrates how cultures distrust and fear one another: ``Order, harmony, and stability were important to the Chinese. They looked down on the nomads and their wandering, warlike ways. They called them barbarians.'' Mann makes thrilling the ironies of the Great Wall: It never fulfilled its purpose of providing safety by exclusion, and contributed to the downfall of the Ming dynasty because of its enormous cost. (maps, chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)