New Book: Goldin, ed., Routledge Handbook of Early Chinese History

A new resource that looks extremely useful: Paul R. Goldin, ed., Routledge Handbook of Early Chinese History. More info here and below; note that the book is currently available for 20% off through the publisher’s website. (Which does not mean that it is inexpensive!)

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Early Chinese History?, Paul R. Goldin

Part I: Chronology

1. Main Issues in the Study of the Chinese Neolithic, Gideon Shelach-Lavi

2. Of Millets and Wheat: Diet and Health on the Central Plain of China during the Neolithic and Bronze Age, Kate Pechenkina

3. The Bronze Age before the Zhou Dynasty, Robert Bagley

4. The Western Zhou State, Li Feng

5. The Age of Territorial Lords, Chen Shen

6. The Qin Dynasty, Charles Sanft

7. The Former Han Empire, Vincent S. Leung

8. The Latter Han Empire and the End of Antiquity, Wicky W.K. Tse

Part II: Topical Studies

9. The Old Chinese Language, Axel Schuessler

10. Writing, Luo Xinhui; tr. Zachary Hershey and Paul R. Goldin

11. The Spirit World, Jue Guo

12. Religious Thought, Ori Tavor

13. Political Thought, Yuri Pines

14. Food and Agriculture, Roel Sterckx

15. Warfare, Wicky W.K. Tse

16. Currency, François Thierry

17. Women in Early China: Views from the Archaeological Record, Anne Behnke Kinney

18. An Overview of the Qin-Han Legal System from the Perspective of Recently Unearthed Documents, Kyung-ho Kim and Ming-chiu Lai

19. Literature, Stephen Durrant

20. Art, Wang Haicheng

21. “Medicine” in Early China, Miranda Brown

22. Mathematics, Karine Chemla

23. Astronomy, David Pankenier

10 replies on “New Book: Goldin, ed., Routledge Handbook of Early Chinese History”

  1. “Not inexpensive” indeed; my information is that the cost is $228. This reflects European price theory, which is predicated on mandatory purchase by a small number of rich American libraries. American price theory has in view voluntary purchase by a large number of economically modest individuals. In a typical case, the price of a European published scholarly book runs to about 8 times the cost of a comparable item in the American publishing world.

    • With the discount, it’s $192. Not saying that that isn’t expensive, but bear in mind that it comprises more than 600 pages and 100 illustrations, so it stands to reason that the price is more than twice what you’d expect to pay for an ordinary hardcover.

      For that matter, American publishers have learned how to charge too. Look at the SUNY Press website: any new hardcover is at least $75, and most are $85-95. The Durrant et al. translation of Zuozhuan was $250; granted, it’s over 2,000 pages, but it doesn’t have any illustrations.

      Books of this kind are expensive. The Cambridge History of Ancient China, which was published nearly twenty years ago, still lists at $144. If you feel that the book is too expensive for your personal library, please ask your institution to purchase a copy. And I hope that Routledge will eventually release an e-book.

  2. Routledge has an ebook available for $48.56 USD. I worked for 16 years in the printing industry and have a good idea how much it costs to print a book. The markup of these kinds of books by these publishers is ridiculous. No wonder people seek out free ebooks.

  3. The publication of The Routledge History of Imperial Chinese History ( reminded me of this thread. The list price for that one is the same $240, but it’s a much slimmer tome (376 pages, according to Amazon). And The Routledge History of Early Chinese History ( is now available from Amazon for a mere $168.65 (or $43.16 for the Kindle version).

    Of course, I think the book is a bargain at any price …

    • Not a relevant question. Scholars do not get “royalties” for their contributions to edited volumes. They are paid in other coin. They get one more entry in their Tenure File, which may eventually be worth more to them than any piffling royalties.

      Or maybe not.

      Save for glossy art books, pricing has little to do with printing cost. There are basically two strategies. Europe prices high, and looks to library purchases. America envisions individual sales, and prices low.

      There are people (the Rolex crowd, but there is something of that in all of us) who feel that value is proportional to price. The Warring States Project takes the Timex trail, doubtless to its own detriment.

    • Thanks Bruce. I just bought a reasonably-priced ebook of The Emergence of China. If an author, artist, musician, etc. simply wants to share their work with the world for free, that is great. If they want to make a living doing these things and charge for their work, that’s fair. If they want to be paid “in other coin,” that’s fine as well. I like to give something back to those whose work I enjoy or benefit from, but some publishers seem to want to discourage folks like me from doing that by pricing them so very high.

  4. By the way, it’s available as a paperback now (ISBN 9780367580667), currently $41.56 on the Routledge site. The ebook (ISBN 9781315773605) is the same price. The hardcover remains expensive at $200.

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