THE GROWTH OF CIVILIZATION IN EAST ASIA: China, Japan and Korea to the 14th Century by Peter Lum

THE GROWTH OF CIVILIZATION IN EAST ASIA: China, Japan and Korea to the 14th Century

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Somewhat more scholarly (and appreciably less schoolish) than Cornelia Spencer's Ancient China ""textbook,"" this survey minces no words and embodies several quite penetrating perceptions. It is straight and honest in general, acknowledging uncertainties (like the issue of direct descent from Peking man); incorporating and where possible adjudicating traditional myth-truths and legends; distinguishing between stagnation and stability re China's over-stressed changelessness; noting inventions language, art, and science; quoting observations by discerning John K. Fairbank; offering real translations of particularly expressive names or titles along with the simple equivalents (China's College of Literature is correctly the ""Forest of Pencils""). One exception is the area of religion where the explanations are slight and unsympathetic: Confucianism and Taoism are antiposed--though as ethic and metaphysic respectively they were actually more parallel than conflicting--and the influence and implications of Buddhism are not adequately emphasized. Japan and Korea seem to be treated as afterthoughts, missing the integral perspective of this chronological cultural history of China, yet the intent to describe the growth of East Asian civilization is, finally, fairly fulfilled.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1969
Publisher: S. G. Phillips--dist. by Hill & Wang