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China marches west : the Qing conquest of…
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China marches west : the Qing conquest of Central Eurasia (Original 2005; 2005. Auflage)

von Peter C. Perdue

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1116197,717 (4.13)9
From about 1600 to 1800, the Qing empire of China expanded to unprecedented size. Through astute diplomacy, economic investment, and a series of ambitious military campaigns into the heart of Central Eurasia, the Manchu rulers defeated the Zunghar Mongols, and brought all of modern Xinjiang and Mongolia under their control, while gaining dominant influence in Tibet. The China we know is a product of these vast conquests. Peter C. Perdue chronicles this little-known story of China's expansion into the northwestern frontier. Unlike previous Chinese dynasties, the Qing achieved lasting domination over the eastern half of the Eurasian continent. Rulers used forcible repression when faced with resistance, but also aimed to win over subject peoples by peaceful means. They invested heavily in the economic and administrative development of the frontier, promoted trade networks, and adapted ceremonies to the distinct regional cultures. Perdue thus illuminates how China came to rule Central Eurasia and how it justifies that control, what holds the Chinese nation together, and how its relations with the Islamic world and Mongolia developed. He offers valuable comparisons to other colonial empires and discusses the legacy left by China's frontier expansion. The Beijing government today faces unrest on its frontiers from peoples who reject its autocratic rule. At the same time, China has launched an ambitious development program in its interior that in many ways echoes the old Qing policies. China Marches West is a tour de force that will fundamentally alter the way we understand Central Eurasia.… (mehr)
Mitglied:ceas
Titel:China marches west : the Qing conquest of Central Eurasia
Autoren:Peter C. Perdue
Info:Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2005.
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
Tags:East Asia, Central Asia, China, Chinese history, economics, Eurasia, history, Mongols, Russia, Qing, Qing Dynasty

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China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia von Peter C. Perdue (2005)

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I had read a couple glowing reviews of this one, so went into this with high expectations. Having read it, though, I found it something of a mixed bag.

The main subject of the book is the conquest of what's now Xinjiang by China's Qing dynasty, but Perdue throws his net very widely, including chapters on things like steppe ecology, the rise of Muscovy, and the (ab)uses of the conquest in 19C and 20C nationalist historiography. A problem here is that Perdue at times seems out of his depth when dealing with more peripheral matters.

Another problem is the confusing array of names for various subgroups of the Western Mongols that he throws at the reader without ever properly explaining how they relate to one another. Actually, after trying to make sense of it with the help of other sources I'm fairly sure that Perdue himself is confused at points.

Relatedly, Perdue expects a fair degree of background knowledge of his readers. If the intended audience, though, is fellow specialists, I might have expected more thorough citations - as it is, I found myself unable to track down a couple things I'd liked to learn more about.

That said, there's a lot of interest here, both in the form of concrete information about the conquest of Xinjiang, and in Perdue's suggestions about that conquest's wider historical impact; interest enough for me to finish a 725pp book and feel it was basically time well spent. One feels it could relatively easily have been even better, though.
  AndreasJ | Jul 19, 2021 |
This is a superb history that should be read by anyone with even a slight interest in the region. Perdue integrates sources from all the relevant languages and archives, takes account of all important scholarly and nationalist interpretations, and puts together a convincing synthesis full of insights and thought-provoking suggestions. This is the kind of history we need. ( )
  languagehat | Aug 26, 2017 |
Outstanding discussion of the Qing conquests in central Asia in the 18th century. ( )
  rnsulentic | May 12, 2013 |
I'm giving this a second read.
He argues for 'human agency' in history, and feels that previous history, of the steppe and China -- specific to this time but not only -- has refused to grant human agency to the actors in history, through too much determinative theory (eg. the typical one of the steppe, its politics and wars determined by climate fluctuations). Historians deal far too much in 'biological imagery and mechanical causation' particularly when they talk about steppe events -- as if nomads never changed, or indeed have no minds of their own. Old China, too, has a frozen feel in our written history, that he believes is quite false.

He studies change. When he writes about events he stresses 'the indeterminacy of the outcome'. The choices people had. The accidents or the off-the-cuff decisions that sent history the way it went. It might have been different. At every junction [I meant to write 'juncture', but that'll do] he wants to tell you, it might have been different.

That's an exciting sort of history to read. I met Peter Perdue in an essay in a book 'Warfare in Inner Asian History 500-1800' (editor Nicola Di Cosmo, Brill 2002), where he goes on, thrillingly, about contingency: he looks at a few campaigns (of the Qing against the Zunghars) and by dint of NOT using hindsight -- which makes results look inevitable -- he conveys a real sense of seat-of-the-pants history, that so easily might turned out another way. It struck me then that this is how a novelist operates; he tells me a historian should, too, and his history can have a novel-like 'what happens next? -- the unexpected'. A quote from that article: "After the battles have been lost and won, it is tempting to search for definitive causes of one side's victory, but it is equally important to recapture the sense of uncertainty that the protagonists experienced during the fog of war."

It's true I was bored stiff by grain transportation when I read this, but of such stuff is history on-the-ground made. We'll see the 2nd time around. To offset the exhaustive detail it has great pictures: old cannon and portraits or battle scenes by a certain Guiseppe Castiglione, Jesuit missionary who became a court painter to the Qing. ( )
  Jakujin | Jan 20, 2013 |
This an exhaustive study of how Manchurian dynasty of the Qing brought the last independent Mongol polity to heel and how this fit into the early modern context of rapidly expanding world commercial relationships that also ultimately contributed to the hollowing out of the Qing government. One important thing to keep in mind is how the author brings the Russian empire into the story as the silent partner of the Qing, as once the boundary between the two empires was fixed this eliminated the geopolitical room to maneuver of the Zunghar Khanate, leaving submission or annihilation as the only options. ( )
  Shrike58 | Sep 19, 2010 |
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From about 1600 to 1800, the Qing empire of China expanded to unprecedented size. Through astute diplomacy, economic investment, and a series of ambitious military campaigns into the heart of Central Eurasia, the Manchu rulers defeated the Zunghar Mongols, and brought all of modern Xinjiang and Mongolia under their control, while gaining dominant influence in Tibet. The China we know is a product of these vast conquests. Peter C. Perdue chronicles this little-known story of China's expansion into the northwestern frontier. Unlike previous Chinese dynasties, the Qing achieved lasting domination over the eastern half of the Eurasian continent. Rulers used forcible repression when faced with resistance, but also aimed to win over subject peoples by peaceful means. They invested heavily in the economic and administrative development of the frontier, promoted trade networks, and adapted ceremonies to the distinct regional cultures. Perdue thus illuminates how China came to rule Central Eurasia and how it justifies that control, what holds the Chinese nation together, and how its relations with the Islamic world and Mongolia developed. He offers valuable comparisons to other colonial empires and discusses the legacy left by China's frontier expansion. The Beijing government today faces unrest on its frontiers from peoples who reject its autocratic rule. At the same time, China has launched an ambitious development program in its interior that in many ways echoes the old Qing policies. China Marches West is a tour de force that will fundamentally alter the way we understand Central Eurasia.

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