Once Upon a Time in China

« When China wakes up, the world will tremble ». Napoléon

José Frèches, sinologue and passionate story-teller, renders to history of China accessible to all.

In this accessible and illustrated book, José Frèches shares his passion for both modern day and ancient China, with as wide and audience as possible. He aims at establishing a bridge between China and our occidental culture, and communicating the knowledge that he has accrued over his years, studying, and travelling to China.

The book mainly follows the chronology of historical events, but José Frèches has also included description of episodes from daily life, biographies of important people, explanations of fundamental concepts (such as Tao, Ying &Yang, for example), legends and interesting anecdotes. He has created a colourful and lively representation of China, both today and in the past, to better illuminate this country which remains very mysterious for us, and to understand this immense and fascinating land that will, through economic, demographic and political weight, change the world.

Author's interview

“When China wakes up, the world will tremble.” Napoleon once predicted. It appears that the time has come, and yet China, with her ancient civilisation stretching back over more than 4 500 years, remains little known to us.

Important links between China and the West have always existed, from the trading that took place along the famous Silk Route, to the sad attempts at colonisation, and our modern day wardrobes full of clothing that is “made in China”. However China itself remains a mystery.

In this accessible and illustrated book, I wanted to share my passion for both modern day and ancient China, with as wide an audience as possible.

The aim is to establish a bridge between our two cultures, and to communicate the knowledge that I have accrued over my years studying, and travelling to, China. The book mainly follows the chronology of historical events, but I have also included descriptions of episodes from daily life, biographies of important people, explanations of fundamental concepts (such as Tao, and Ying and Yang for example), legends and interesting anecdotes. Basically I have tried to create a colourful and lively representation of China, both of today and in the past, to better illuminate this country which remains very mysterious for us, and to understand this immense and fascinating land that will, through its economic, demographic and political weight, change the world.”

Reviews

“Gripping. (…) Please, do read it! More than an introduction to China, this book is a wonderful journey.”
Le Parisien, Aujourd’hui en France

“The history of Chinese civilisation has hardly been told in such a clear and gripping way. (…) This book is as essential as pleasant.”
Géo

“José Frèches set about making the readers understand about China of today by telling the Empire of yesterday and makes the daring bet of captivating them with 4500 years of History.”
Le Figaro

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Foreign versions

Sold in 2 languages:

  • Bulgaria: Iztok-Zapad
  • Spain: Espasa Libros

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