Mark Elvin is professor of Chinese history at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra. Author of The Pattern of the Chinese Past and other works, he has taught at Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and Heidelberg, and been a visiting research fellow at Harvard.
"by far the best history of the interaction between the traditional Chinese and their surroundings... stupendously learned." Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review "majestic depth and brutal detail... a heavyweight work.' Simon Barnes, The Times "Masterly and engaging... Essential for those who want to understand the long sweep of Chinese history, and it will enhance the perspective of those who think they already understand it. A scholarly tour de force." J. R. McNeill, Wilson Quarterly "Elvin combines an illuminating account of the 4,000 year-long collision of humans and nature with delightful tidbits about everything under the Chinese sun... A magisterial work." Nicholas D. Kristof, Scientific American"