No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
See below for a selection of the latest books from Asian history category. Presented with a red border are the Asian history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Asian history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
A variety of Chinese writings from the Song period (960-1279)-medical texts, religious treatises, fiction, and anecdotes-depict women who were considered peculiar because their sexual bodies did not belong to men. These were women who refused to marry, were considered unmarriageable, or were married but denied their husbands sexual access, thereby removing themselves from social constructs of female sexuality defined in relation to men. As elite male authors attempted to make sense of these women whose sexual bodies were unavailable to them, they were forced to contemplate the purpose of women's bodies and lives apart from wifehood and motherhood. This raised troubling new questions about normalcy, desire, sexuality, and identity. In Divine, Demonic, and Disordered, Hsiao-wen Cheng considers accounts of manless women, many of which depict women who suffered from enchantment disorder or who engaged in intercourse with ghosts -conditions with specific symptoms and behavioral patterns. Cheng questions conventional binary gender analyses and shifts attention away from women's reproductive bodies and familial roles. Her innovative study offers historians of China and readers interested in women, gender, sexuality, medicine, and religion a fresh look at the unstable meanings attached to women's behaviors and lives even in a time of codified patriarchy.
Pudong is a district located at east of the Huangpu River and is opposite to Puxi, west of the Huangpu River and the historic city center of Shanghai. Since the establishment of Pudong New Area in early 1990s, the backward Pudong has become a thriving financial hub of modern China and home to the Lujiazui Finance and the Pilot Free-Trade Zone, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This book sets Pudong in a broad historical background and records the historical changes and various details and legends in the Pudong's development process. It reflects the tortuous process of China's reform and is the first book detailing the complete history of Pudong. It offers suggestions that can be popularized and emulated to achieve significant development across China.
A social theory of grand corruption from antiquity to the twenty-first century. In contemporary policy discourse, the notion of corruption is highly constricted, understood just as the pursuit of private gain while fulfilling a public duty. Its paradigmatic manifestations are bribery and extortion, placing the onus on individuals, typically bureaucrats. Sudhir Chella Rajan argues that this understanding ignores the true depths of corruption, which is properly seen as a foundation of social structures. Not just bribes but also caste, gender relations, and the reproduction of class are forms of corruption. Using South Asia as a case study, Rajan argues that syndromes of corruption can be identified by paying attention to social orders and the elites they support. From the breakup of the Harappan civilization in the second millennium BCE to the anticolonial movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, elites and their descendants made off with substantial material and symbolic gains for hundreds of years before their schemes unraveled. Rajan makes clear that this grander form of corruption is not limited to India or the annals of global history. Societal corruption is endemic, as tax cheats and complicit bankers squirrel away public money in offshore accounts, corporate titans buy political influence, and the rich ensure that their children live lavishly no matter how little they contribute. These elites use their privileged access to power to fix the rules of the game-legal structures and social norms-benefiting themselves, even while most ordinary people remain faithful to the rubrics of everyday life.
In his Satsai, or Seven Hundred Poems, the seventeenth-century poet Biharilal draws on a rich vernacular tradition, blending amorous narratives about the god Krishna and the goddess Radha with archetypal hero and heroine motifs from older Sanskrit and Prakrit conventions. While little is known of Biharilal's life beyond his role as court poet to King Jai Singh of Amber (1611-1667), his verses reflect deep knowledge of local north Indian culture and geography, especially the bucolic landscapes of Krishna's youth in the Braj region (in today's Uttar Pradesh). With ingenuity and virtuosity, Biharilal weaves together worldly experience and divine immanence, and adapts the tropes of stylized courtly poetry, such as romantic rivalries, clandestine trysts, and the bittersweet sorrow of separated lovers. Poems from the Satsai comprises a selection of four hundred couplets from this enduring work. The Hindi text-composed in Braj Bhasha, the literary language of early-modern north India-is presented here in the Devanagari script and accompanies a new English verse translation.
The Prakrit romance Lilavai, an early ninth-century poem attributed to Kouhala and set in modern-day coastal Andhra Pradesh, is the most celebrated work in the genre. Complexly narrated in the alternating voices of its heroines and heroes and featuring a cast of semi-divine and magical beings, it centers on three young women: Lilavai, princess of Sinhala (today's Sri Lanka); her cousin Mahanumai, princess of the mythical city Alaka; and Kuvalaavali, Mahanumai's adopted sister. Following a prophecy that Lilavai's husband will rule the earth, the princess happens upon a portrait of King Hala of Pratishthana and immediately falls in love. While journeying to meet him, she hears her cousins' tales of their lost loves, and then vows not to marry until they are reunited. To win Lilavai's hand, King Hala journeys to the underworld, faces monsters, and overcomes armies. Lilavai explores themes of karma and female desire, notably privileging women as storytellers. A new edition of the Prakrit text, presented in the Devanagari script, accompanies a new English prose translation.
Akbarnama, or The History of Akbar, by Abu'l-Fazl (d. 1602), is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry. Marking a high point in a long, rich tradition of Persian historical writing, it served as a model for historians across the Persianate world. The work is at once a biography of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605) that includes descriptions of political and martial feats and cultural achievements, and a chronicle of sixteenth-century India. The seventh volume details the twenty-ninth to thirty-eighth years of Akbar's reign, including accounts of the marriage of his son and heir Salim (Jahangir); conquests of Swat, Orissa, Kashmir, Sind, and the Saurashtra Peninsula; the pacification of Bengal; and the emperor's visits to Kashmir, the Punjab, and Kabul. The Persian text, presented in the Naskh script, is based on a careful reassessment of the primary sources.
Kamandaki's Nitisara, or The Essence of Politics, redefined the field of political thought in early medieval India and became one of the most influential works in the genre across South and Southeast Asia. It was likely written during or shortly after the Gupta Empire (c. 325-550 CE) and enjoyed wide popularity for nearly a millennium. An elegant introduction to the intricacies of statecraft, The Essence of Politics encompasses virtually all aspects of elite social life, making it indispensable for generals, spies, ministers, and other members of the royal court, especially poets writing about war and conquest. Addressed directly to the king, its lessons range from the finer points of military strategy and economic policy to the moral qualities of effective rulers. Kamandaki anchors political practice in intellectual and spiritual discipline. His model of leadership, based on self-control and personal cultivation, is as relevant today as it was in its own time. The Sanskrit text, presented here in the Devanagari script, accompanies a new English prose translation.
From an award-winning historian, a concise overview of the deep and longstanding ties between China and the Koreas, providing an essential foundation for understanding East Asian geopolitics today. In a concise, trenchant overview, Odd Arne Westad explores the cultural and political relationship between China and the Koreas over the past 600 years. Koreans long saw China as a mentor. The first form of written Korean employed Chinese characters and remained in administrative use until the twentieth century. Confucianism, especially Neo-Confucian reasoning about the state and its role in promoting a virtuous society, was central to the construction of the Korean government in the fourteenth century. These shared Confucian principles were expressed in fraternal terms, with China the older brother and Korea the younger. During the Ming Dynasty, mentor became protector, as Korea declared itself a vassal of China in hopes of escaping ruin at the hands of the Mongols. But the friendship eventually frayed with the encroachment of Western powers in the nineteenth century. Koreans began to reassess their position, especially as Qing China seemed no longer willing or able to stand up for Korea against either the Western powers or the rising military threat from Meiji Japan. The Sino-Korean relationship underwent further change over the next century as imperialism, nationalism, revolution, and war refashioned states and peoples throughout Asia. Westad describes the disastrous impact of the Korean War on international relations in the region and considers Sino-Korean interactions today, especially the thorny question of the reunification of the Korean peninsula. Illuminating both the ties and the tensions that have characterized the China-Korea relationship, Empire and Righteous Nation provides a valuable foundation for understanding a critical geopolitical dynamic.
India's caravan trade with central Asia was at the heart of the complex web of routes making up the Silk Roads. But what was the fate of these overland connections in the ages of sail and steam? Jagjeet Lally sets out to answer this question by bringing the world of caravan trade to life--a world of merchants, mercenaries, pastoralists and pilgrims, but also of kings, bureaucrats and their subjects in the countryside and towns. The livelihoods of these figures did not become obsolete with the advent of 'modern' technologies and the consequent emergence of new global networks. Terrestrial routes remained critically important, not only handling flows of goods and money, but also fostering networks of trade in credit, secret intelligence and fighting power. With the waning of the Mughal Empire during the eighteenth century, new Indian kingdoms and their rulers came to the fore, drawing their power and prosperity from resources brought by caravan trade. The encroachment of British and Russian imperialism into this commercial arena in the nineteenth century gave new significance to some people and flows, while steadily undermining others. India and the Silk Roads is a global history of a continental interior, the first to comprehensively examine the textual and material traces of caravan trade in the 'age of empires'. By showing how no single ruler could control the nebulous yet durable networks of this trading world, which had its own internal dynamics even as it evolved in step with global transformations, Lally forces us to rethink the history of globalisation and re-evaluate our fixation with empires and states as the building blocks of historical analysis. It is a narrative resonating with our own times, as China's Belt and Road Initiative brings terrestrial forms of connectivity back to the fore--transforming life across Eurasia once again.
When Benigno Aquino was assassinated, and the Marcoses fell, hundreds of journalists streamed into Manila. But the reports they filed, from Imelda Marco's shoes to Mrs. Aquino's election, ignored a larger story. This is the first book to tell that story. Outside Manila in the desperately poor farming villages and port towns of the Philippines, the communist New People's Army is gaining strength in its relentless struggle for power. Yet virtually nothing is known about the NPA's origins, composition, aims and tactics. This book fills that gap. William Chapman follows the trail of the New People's Army from its founding 19 years ago by a motley group of Marxist students and rebel farmers with barely 70 weapons between them, to a force of more than 23,000 active guerrillas today, supported by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Filipinos. He tells of the grim social conditions that spawned the movement, of the strategy of the NPA's leaders, and of the rank and file who fight, and who are still winning the people's hearts and minds. He shows why those in power in Manila and Washington fear the NPA and wish to thwart it. Today the NPA holds its own against the U.S.-backed military. It controls or influences large parts of the countryside. In some villages it has become the de facto government, the people's choice. Its assassination squads roam at will through city slums, and its guerrillas camp outside U.S. bases. In ceasefires and negotiations, the NPA has become a permanent contender for power. This is a riveting piece of contemporary history, essential reading for all who follow international affairs and events in the Pacific region.
Between 1819 and 1926 four Muslim women rulers reigned over Bhopal, the second largest Muslim state of India. They received staunch opposition from powerful neighbours and male claimants in India. The British East India Company, under Queen Victoria, also opposed female rule in Bhopal until the Begums quoted the Queen as their model and inspiration. Through the first objective history of Bhopal, Shaharyar M. Khan discusses the Begums' policies in their relations with the British and provides a fascinating account of British imperial relations within India.
In just three decades, despite endemic political corruption, the continuous state of hostility with its northern neighbour, and the effects of years of foreign oppression, South Korea has achieved an economic miracle. The South Korean workforce, more disciplined and hard-working than the Japanese, is the key to the transformation, and is now becoming a model for other emergent Far-Eastern nations. But the economic success has been achieved at a cost. A rigid authoritarianism pervades all aspects of society, crushing all dissent and protest. This book examines the nature of South Korea's economic success, and asks whether the country's current prosperity is inextricably bound up with political repression. It also considers the threat that such an economically successful and politically undesirable system poses to the West.