The story of Chinese history through 150 expert authored biographies. A unique, comprehensive and accessible overview of the long sweep of Chinese history, now available in paperback.

This publication, the first of its kind since 1898, represents the work of more than one hundred internationally recognized experts from nearly a dozen countries. It has been designed to satisfy the growing thirst of students, researchers, professionals, and general readers for knowledge about China. It makes the entire span of Chinese history manageable by introducing the reader to emperors, politicians, poets, writers, artists, scientists, explorers, and philosophers who have shaped and transformed China over the course of five thousand years. In 135 entries, ranging from 1,000 to 8,000 words and written by some of the world’s leading China scholars, the Dictionary takes the reader from the important (even if possibly mythological) figures of ancient China to Communist leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The in-depth essays provide rich historical context, and create a compelling narrative that weaves abstract concepts and disparate events into a coherent story. Cross-references between the articles show the connections between times, places, movements, events, and individuals.

The work features a range of appendices, including a timeline of key events, a pronunciation guide, a bibliography, lists of rulers and other prominent people, and other supplemental materials for students of Chinese history and culture.


Jeffrey L Richey in Review of Asian Studies,

Andrew J Nathan, in Foreign Affairs, 2016,

Introduction by editor-in-chief, Kerry Brown,

Launch of the Dictionary at the Museum of New South Wales, Sydney, 2015: