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The Great Wall

China Against the World 1000BC - 2000AD

Julia Lovell

Legendarily 2,200 years old and 4,300 miles long, China's Great Wall seems to be a confident physical statement made by an advanced civilization, anxious to draw a line between itself and the 'barbarians' at its borders. But behind the Wall's intimidating exterior, and the myths that have built up around it, lies a history far more fragmented and far less illustrious than its crowds of modern-day tourists might imagine.

In this epic history exploring the conquests and cataclysms of the Chinese empire over the past 3,000 years, Julia Lovell restores a human dimension to this astonishing structure: examining the emperors who planned new phases of building; the people who constructed, lived and guarded the walls; and the millions who died - of overwork, starvation, cold and combat. The Great Wall is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand China's past, present and future.

First published:
Published by:
Atlantic Books
Hardcover 336 pages

About the author

Julia Lovell was born in 1975 and lectures in Chinese history and literature at the University of Cambridge. She has spent extended periods in China and has recently translated the prize-winning Chinese novel, A Dictionary of Maqiao. She writes on China for the Guardian, The Times, The Economist and The Times Literary Supplement