TWO FACES OF ASIA by Robert & Abner Sundell Myron


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If, as the authors acknowledge, ""all that India and China had in common... was, as in most civilizations, a river-bank culture and a struggle to support life by agriculture,"" why the parallel histories--Stone Age through seventeenth century--each chronological chapter split in the middle, not only causing discontinuity but also leading to oversimplified comparisons end contrasts. Throughout, moreover, attempts to synthesize and popularize often muddle and even misinform: of skeletons antedating Peking man--""their mongoloid characteristics established an historical link between the cannibalistic hunter of the Yellow river Valley (Peking man) and his heir in present day China."" Elsewhere, distinctive traits are overextended--Hindu worship of the cow was not chiefly responsible for ""the bloody battles that raged the streets of India after World War II, and led to the partition of India and the creation... of Pakistan."" No amount of emphasis on culture can compensate for some of the authors' misconceptions about it, most injurious because they are implicitly carried to the present.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1967
Publisher: World