"Does what it sets out to do and serves as a Chinese history text teenagers might actually read." Asian Review of Books on Division to Unification in Imperial China
The fourth volume in the Understanding China Through Comics series covers the stunningly productive Ming dynasty and its fall to the Manchus under the Qing, the last Chinese dynasty. The book also addresses Wang Yangming's School of Mind and the painful process of modernization and conflict with the West and Japan, including the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. Includes timeline.
Jing Liu is a Beijing- and Davis, CAbased designer and entrepreneur who uses his artistry to tell the story of China.
In The Press
"A great way to learn about China's vast history!"
—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
"Excels at clarifying the often-confusing transitional periods between dynasties… An excellent introduction to the large trends of early Chinese history.”
"Chinese language is being taught in all but one state... A comic format teaching China's history is the perfect companion."
"Combines breezy style with historical rigor to strike just the right gong-tone for a middle school audience approaching the vast scope of Chinese history."
5/5 Stars "An invaluable source... Chinese history is a vast subject, but Jing Liu has a skillful ability to condense it all into an interesting and manageable narrative."
"The combination of silhouettes—often threatening, martial ones—with open-faced, expressively individualized figures of many social classes adds dramatic tension while neatly balancing the big-picture narrative. There's a lot to absorb even in this abbreviated form, but the visual approach lightens the load considerably."
"The lucid, economical text makes one eager for successive volumes."
"Simple and effective…This direct, appealing introduction to the foundations of one of the world’s oldest civilizations is recommended for teens and adults."
"Given China's superpower ambitions, it goes without saying that our politicians must pick up a copy."
"A clear and concise survey of Chinese history and culture that is sure to please."
4.5/5 Stars "A very nice way to establish a foundation to understanding China’s history and a possible gateway to more intense study and comprehension of a very complex subject."
"The book does what it says it does: a child will come away with a basic understanding of early Chinese history, what makes the Chinese tick as a people and culture."
"It is certainly a fascinating look at Chinese history, and doing it in comics has certainly made it more accessible to people, especially for the Western world."
Teacher and Professor Testimonials
"This book is “The Magic School Bus” for those starting to explore Chinese culture."
—Dan Cao, Instructor at Confucius Institute at UC Davis
"An excellent history that clearly explains the great (and ordinary) people who have made China what it is and the conflicts and debates that have shaped Chinese history. There is nothing else like it in English or Chinese."
—Alan Baumler, Professor of History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
"No more burying yourself in text-heavy history books to learn about China, this comic-style book manages to be rich in information and bring Chinese history to readers in a more clear, fun, and accessible way than it’s ever been done before. Easily integrated into a social studies or Chinese culture curriculum, I can’t wait to get a copy for my class."
—Grace Zeng, Chinese Teacher and Middle School Chinese Curriculum Area Leader at International School of Beijing
"Jing Liu has brought to life the long and complex early period of Chinese history in this wonderful graphic novel. Foundations of Chinese Civilization is a delight to read; humorous, informative, and truly captivating."
—Alexandra Pearson, Founder of The Bookworm Literary Festival
"Since the 1990s, Jing Liu has been entertaining and informing foreigners about China with his cartoons. His new series of comic books is a fun, easy, accessible way to gain a basic understanding of Chinese history and culture."
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Founder of Danwei
"This comic series is fantastic to use in the classroom. My students are drawn to this book - not only do they enjoy this graphic-novel style, it also helps them understand difficult historical concepts. What a fun supplement to the regular textbook!"
—Leslie Burgoine, Middle School History Teacher, Portland, Oregon
"I was really impressed with how the author explained, taught, explored and visually told the story of China. Impressive and very informative. It was not only a page turner for me, but my students would run into class to get their hands on a copy to keep reading!"
—Sasha Johnson, World History Teacher at Black Pine Circle School, Berkeley, CA
About The Author
Jing Liu is an artist and entrepreneur from Beijing, China. He is currently the Managing Director of Moli Design, a China-based design firm that counts the BBC, MasterCard, The Ford Foundation, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and UNICEF among its many clients. Liu graduated from Beijing University of Technology with undergraduate degrees in industrial design and engineering, and a masters in international economics and trade.