Anaccount of China's rise to world power status, thisis a useful guide for anyone who wants to understand this dynamic society. The study explores China's entire history, from prehistoric times to the present day. Some aspects of China's history are hotly debated, but this book offers a path through these conflicting views on the development of China throughout history. It reveals the immense riches and sophistication of ancient China, and banishes the view of Chinese history as a long, repetitive catalogue of one dynasty following another. In drawing together the broad themes of political, social, economic, and cultural history, the dramatic development of one of the world's great civilizations is brought to life.