The Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography uses the life stories of key individuals, selected from the earliest dynasties to the present day, to tell the story of China itself over the entire span of its history. Volume 4, available separately, is on contemporary figures.
Chinese history can be overwhelming, and no one claims to understand in detail more than specific periods of this great sweep of political, social, and economic development. But the world’s leading China scholars can, together, tell us the whole story. The Dictionary of Chinese Biography will make this immense history manageable—easier to comprehend and digest—by taking the reader through it in the life stories of key figures who have shaped, influenced, and transformed China. These individuals include emperors, politicians, poets, writers, artists, scientists, explorers and philosophers. This unique and ambitious project is built on the success of the monumental Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, published in 2009. Similar but longer articles—of 5-10,000 words—will make up the Dictionary of Chinese Biography. This is the first time that such an overview will be available in one place, produced by internationally recognized experts, and designed to satisfy the growing thirst for knowledge about China.