Cover of the book Great State
mr seldens map of china
vermeers hat

Great State: China and the World (2019)

Cover of the book Great State
In Great State, Timothy Brook does for China what Mary Beard did for Rome in SPQR, analyzes the last eight centuries of China’s relationship with the world in this magnificent history that brings together accounts from civil servants, horse traders, spiritual leaders, explorers, pirates, emperors, migrant workers, invaders, visionaries, and traitors—creating a multifaceted portrait of Read more

Mr. Selden’s Map of China (2013)

mr seldens map of china
A work of history, biography, cartography, and literary mystery, Mr. Selden’s Map of China unlocks the secrets behind a Chinese map four centuries old, long lost in a library basement, and paints an unexpected portrait of the world just as global trade changed everything. The map arrived at Oxford’s Bodleian Library in 1659, part of Read more

The Troubled Empire (2010)

The Mongol Takeover in the 1270’s changed the course of Chinese history. The Confucian empire–a millennium and a half in the making–was suddenly thrust under foreign occupation. What China had been before its reunification as the Yuan dynasty in 1279 was no longer what it would be in the future. Four centuries later, another wave Read more

Death by a Thousand Cuts (2008)

With Jérôme Bourgon and Gregory Blue In a public square in the Beijing in 1904, multiple murderer Wang Weiqin was executed before a crowd of onlookers. He was among the last to suffer the extreme capital punishment known as lingchi. Called by Western observers “death by a thousand cuts” or “death by slicing,” this penalty Read more

Vermeer’s Hat (2008)

vermeers hat
A Vermeer painting shows a military officer in a Dutch sitting room, talking to a laughing girl. In another canvas, fruit spills from a blue-and-white porcelain bowl. Familiar images that captivate us with their beauty–but as Timothy Brook shows us, these intimate pictures actually give us a remarkable view of an expanding world. The officer’s Read more

Collaboration (2005)

Studies of collaboration have changed how the history of World War II in Europe is written, but for China and Japan this aspect of wartime conduct has remained largely unacknowledged. In a bold new work, Timothy Brook breaks the silence surrounding the sensitive topic of wartime collaboration between the Chinese and their Japanese occupiers. Japan’s Read more

The Chinese State in Ming Society (2005)

The Ming dynasty (l368-l644), a period of commercial expansion and cultural innovation, fashioned the relationship between the present-day state and society in China. In this unique collection of reworked and illustrated essays, one of the leading scholars of Chinese history re-examines this relationship and argues that, contrary to previous scholarship, which emphasized the heavy hand Read more

Opium Regimes (2000)

With Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi The history of opium in China, prior to the publication of this volume, was traditionally approached as a deplorable episode in the history of nineteenth-century British imperialism, when British traders exported vast quantities of opium from India to China in order to balance their payments in the China trade. The volume Read more

Nation Work (2000)

The world since the 19th century has been a patchwork of nations constructed around mutually exclusive identities. The model emerged from the European experience of small competing states, but it became global in the 19th century, as old empires and newly formed states in the Third World struggled to assert diplomatic equality and autonomy. This Read more

China and Historical Capitalism (1999)

With Gregory Blue Only recently has it been recognized in the West that the historical experience of the world has been as much the history of China as of the West. The primary subject of this book is the historical relationship that has arisen between the concept of capitalism and the idea of China. The Read more

Documents on the Rape of Nanking (1999)

The Japanese Army’s invasion of China in 1937 was the first step toward a hemispheric war that would last until the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. What ended in one atrocity began with another: the savage military takeover of China’s capital city, which quickly became known as the Rape of Nanking. The Read more

The Confusions of Pleasure (1998)

The Ming dynasty, the last great imperial house before the Manchu conquest in 1644, ruled China for nearly three centuries. During that time, China, not Europe, was the center of the world: the European voyages of exploration were searching not just for new lands but also for new trade routes to the Far East. in Read more

Civil Society in China (1997)

With B. Michael Frolic The suppression of the Democracy Movement in 1989 drove political scientists and historians of China to seek to understand the conditions under which Chinese might see to organize society with and without the supervision of the state. The translation into English in 1989 of Jürgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Read more

Culture and Economy (1997)

With Hy V. Luong In recent years, most of the economies of Eastern Asia have been absorbed into global capitalism. Capitalism has transformed these economies, but the process has not been one-way. The cultures of Eastern Asia have in turn shaped how capitalism organizes labor, capital, and markets, in ways that could not have been Read more

Praying for Power (1993)

In 17th and 18th century China, Buddhists and Confucians alike flooded local Buddhist monasteries with donations As gentry numbers grew faster than the imperial bureaucracy, traditional Confucian careers were closed to many; but visible philanthropy could publicize elite status outside the state realm. Actively sought by fund-raising abbots, such patronage affected institutional Buddhism. After exploring Read more

Quelling the People (1992)

The Beijing Massacre was a watershed in the history of modern China. In the early hours of June 4, 1989, the People’s Liberation Army forced its way into the center of Beijing. Its objective was to take control of Tiananmen Square, headquarters of the fledgling Democracy Movement, at all costs. Even the Chinese leaders may Read more

National Polity and Local Power (1989)

Due in no small part to the proximity of their much larger neighbour, Korean scholars have been among the most perceptive observers of China. This book brought into English for the first time important essays by Min Tu-ki, who was the senior China historian at Seoul National University and whose intellectual disciples continue to shape Read more

The Asiatic Mode of Production in China (1989)

As Chinese intellectuals emerged from the Cultural Revolution, they began to cast around within Marxist philosophy for a new model by which to understand China’s history, and in particular the resilience of autocracy into their own day. The model they found in Marx was his concept of the Asiatic mode of production, which rejected the Read more

Geographical Sources of Ming-Qing History (1988)

First published in 1988 in response to the growing need for documentation concerning local history in the late imperial period, Geographical Sources provides bibliographical data regarding two distinct genres: route books, and topographical and institutional gazetteers. In its second edition, this essential research tool has been completely revised and expanded with close to one hundred Read more