The History of China Podcast seeks to make the sweeping epic and individual dramas that form the story of the Middle Kingdom accessible to anyone with ~30 minutes to spare and a pair of ears (even one will do!)

Learn about the most populous nation on Earth, and how it has gone from river-valley hunter gatherers, to global power, to the “Sick Man of Asia,” to revolution, renovation, and renewal into the modern nation-state.

We welcome China neophyte and old hand alike, and try to keep the tale of China accessible and interesting to all!  So please join our journey!


17 thoughts on “About

  1. Excellent series on a topic left untouched by most. I enjoy this a great deal.
    For Zune podcasts, episodes 5 and 6 are not downloading.
    Thanks for all your work.

  2. Marvellous stuff. What’s your Facebook ID? Come across to the History Podcast Group (it’ll do wonders for your readership). One niggle – you conflated the Aten and Amun Re – not even close to being linked! Keep up the good work – off to hype you on iTunes 🙂

  3. Hello. Just donated but had to go to an earlier episode button. The last few donate links not working. thanks for your program. I left an iTunes earlier.

  4. Finally get to thank you for this heroic undertaking and masterful handling of materials! I am particularly impressed by the integration of later findings such as Shanxing Dui of Ba and Shu. You did great justice by mentioning their cultural achievements – before being all but annihilated by Qin. On the other hand, Qin’s invasion – or rather, legends related to that event, also deserves a little more justice. The tactics used to open the Golden Oxen Trail (金牛道 – http://www.dreams-travel.com/sc/sc_jmsd/ancientroad.asp) and to kill the Five Strong Men (五丁开山 – http://www.baike.com/wiki/五丁开山) bears a passing resemblance to Trojan Horse but militarily much more effective. (“秦惠王 欲伐 蜀 而不知道,作五石牛,以金置尾下,言能屎金, 蜀王 负力。令五丁引之成道。”郦道元 《水经注·沔水》。Wooden horse. Stone oxen with golden poo. Queen Helen. Five Beauties. Sounds familiar? http://www.zdic.net/c/4/14c/328563.htm.)

    1. How very interesting! Thanks very much for linking those articles! I agree that my coverage of Qin’s invasion of Ba and Shu was cursory at best… you’re making me consider going back and maybe doing a mini-episode on the tactics they used, because I agree in reading them there are quite a few fascinating nuances and tactics I missed the first go-round.

      Thanks once again!

  5. Hello! I came across this from /r/askhistorians, and I just wanted to chime in! Also not quite sure if this the correct place to post this.

    First off I just wanted to say I’m in love with your series along with your attention to detail with names, dates and places, and I’m excited for all your upcoming episodes.

    Secondly, I’ve already listened to all the lectures on Chinese History and Philosophy from Audible multiple times over (Foundations of Eastern Civilizations, with Professor Craig G. Benjamin, Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition Professor Grant Hardy, Buddhism with Professor David Eckel and From Yao to Mao: 500 years of Chinese History with Professor Kenneth J. Hammond), and I wanted to ask where should I go next? Any book recommendations?

    Third, I just wanted to know if you plan on covering some of the more culturally important people, such as Ban Zhao, Dong Zongshu, or Du Fu and Li Bai.

    And finally, my only *really* minor sticking point, was there a reason the other philosophers of the Hundred Schools were somewhat glossed over? Most notably Han Feizi, Laozi and Mencius?

    Again, thank you so much for doing this, you’ve really made my day and I certainly plan to donate more once more money comes my way, you certainly more than deserve it!

    1. Hi there, and so glad you’re liking the show so far!

      I’ll get to recommendations in a bit, but I first want to address the issue of people covered/not covered, because it’s a very good question.

      I’m hoping to work in as many of the culturally significant players as possible, but it is a bit of a balancing act. My fear has been (and looking at some other comments/reviews, it already is a bit of an issue for some) twofold: first, people getting lost with too many unfamiliar names all at once, and second, getting so wrapped up in each individual piece of the larger whole that we lose too much momentum. That was why many of the Hundred Schools got glossed over… I didn’t want to stop the chronology for the several episodes it probably would have taken to really engage most of them… and I’m absolutely open to criticism on that. As Confucianism becomes the dominant state philosophy in the Han Dynasty, I’m planning/hoping to swing back around to address Mencius further and how he changed the school from its original philosophies. Laozi was a definite tough call… his story (and Taoism in general) is told so many ways, and through so many tough analogies and fables, I couldn’t think of a great way to fit him in without have to stop every couple of lines to explain what he meant with things like “the usefulness of a pot comes from it’s emptiness.”

      Have you looked into The Great Courses: The Fall and Rise of China? That’s quite the series! Also The Seven Military Classic of Ancient China… both I believe are on Audible.

      This one is quite spendy, but it’s a great translation of the Zizhi tongjian: Wars with the Xiongnu: A Translation from Zizhi tongjian by Joseph P. Yap

      And I haven’t read this one, but it looks very interesting… and it was recommended by Amazon, so there’s that. Reasonably priced, to boot! … The Silk Road: A New History [Kindle Edition] by Valerie Hansen: http://www.amazon.com/The-Silk-Road-New-History-ebook/dp/B008YGWQT0/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_cp_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=0GJ2J99B7Q52KB3YWDJ0

      Wonderful to hear from you, and again thank you very much!

  6. Thank you for your reply! I absolutely loved listening through Rise and Fall of China! Professor Baum really paints a tragic and interesting picture of post-imperial China. My initial interest in China began with studying communist China and the more autobiographical books, Jung Chag’s Wild Swan, Red Sorrow by Nanchu, and Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen mah.

    I also picked up The Seven Military Classic of Ancient China on audible, even though I’ve just started it, it’s so nice to hear someone at length describe the military situation of ancient china, something so quickly glossed over in favor of the more cultural pursuits of the Spring and Autumn period, sadly, i only have so much money and your other recommendations will have to wait. Wayyy too excited for that time to come though!

    And yea, you could literally devote two whole episodes just trying to understand the Tao Te Ching and the esoteric language in it.

    Once again! I thank you again for your podcast! And I certainly plan to enjoy every minute of it several times over.

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