Author and artist Jing Liu tells the story of China from its ancient days to the present. He uses strong ink art and a storyteller’s feel for pace and plot to depict storylines ranging from the political and economic to the cultural and personal.
The result is a series of books that don’t simply recount China’s history but also leave readers with a nuanced understanding of the forces that shaped and continue to shape a great nation.
The four completed volumes cover all the great dynasties, upheavals, population movements, and political alliances and rivalries from ancient times up to the modern age. Each volume includes a handy timeline. All are paperbacks.
Volume 1. Foundations of Chinese Civilization: The Yellow Emperor to the Han Dynasty (2697 BCE–220 CE): 158 pp.
Volume 2. Division to Unification in Imperial China: The Three Kingdoms to the Tang Dynasty (220–907): 144 pages
Volume 3. Barbarians and the Birth of Chinese Identity: The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms to the Yuan Dynasty (907–1368): 148 pages
Volume 4. The Making of Modern China: The Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty (1368–1912): 182 pages
Volume 5. In the works. This book will take the series up to 1949 and the establishment of the People’s Republic.
The individual volumes retail for $14.95 each, so this bundle of four volumes saves you quite a bit of money.
About the Author
Jing Liu is from Beijing, China, and currently lives in Davis, California. He began his professional life as an industrial designer and engineer. In recent years he has drawn on the precise presentation skills required by that career and created a new life as a visual artist.
Listen to the publisher's interview with the author here.
Praise for Understanding China Through Comics
“Simple and effective ...This direct, appealing introduction to the foundations of one of the world’s oldest civilizations is recommended for teens and adults.”—Library Journal
"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."—School Library Journal
"The lucid, economical text makes one eager for the successive volumes."—Booklist
"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."—Kirkus Reviews
"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
"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."—Radio Australia
"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
"This book is The Magic School Bus for those starting to explore Chinese culture."—Dan Cao, Instructor at Confucius Institute at UC Davis
"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
"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."—Portland Book Review
"Entertaining, engaging, and informative, this is a perfect doorway for the student new to ancient China."—Seattle Book Review
"Informed and informative, Division to Unification in Imperial China is especially recommended for young readers ages 11 to 17 and should be a part of every school and community library's History of China collection."—The Midwest Book Review
"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."—Asian Review of Books
"This is a highly accessible work tailored to fast learning while also very entertaining."—The Comics Grinder