Asia is a continent of several cultures which are both similar and different to each other in many ways. As students who need textbooks for their Asian history classes, or mere readers who want to know more information about the rich continent, here is a list of books which are recommended for you.
1. A History of Asia by Rhoads Murphey. Covering four millennia of Asian history, Murphey focused on Japan, Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and India. He studied each region’s politics, society, and economy. He also analyzed each of them and made comparisons across different cultures. This book also provides timelines, boxed features, and discussion questions to make it more student-friendly.
2. A Short History of Asia: Stone Age to 2000 AD by Collin Mason. These textbooks is a great primer for those who have no or little prior knowledge about the history of Asia. It focused on bigger nations (India and China, for example), but did not fail to give readers more knowledge about smaller countries. It also pointed out the advancements Asia had while the rest of the world was still considered primitive, and helped in correcting certain misconceptions which are traditionally held by many people (for instance, Koreans were already familiar with movable type printing centuries before Gutenberg ‘invented’ it in Europe).
3. When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks Who Created the “Riches of the East” by Stewart Gordon. The author journeyed along with merchants and other people from Asia in 700 to 1500 AD, and gave the readers the ride that opened their eyes to the vast and lively connections – intellectual, commercial, and spiritual – different Asian cultures had during the time when Europe was blanketed by the Dark Ages. Using journals and personal accounts of many travelers during the time, Gordon has relived the days of commercial trading, foreign diplomacy, and exchange of ideas from different parts of Asia.
4. Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture by John Stewart Bowman. As the title suggests, this book has lined chronologies for the countries in East, South, Southeast and Central Asia. This is among those textbooks whose strength lies in the clarity and details of historical dates and events. The sequence also makes the different cultures easier to understand, making it an excellent tool in explaining events and people, and even defining concepts and words which may be unfamiliar to a lot of people.
These are just four textbooks on Asian history. You can enrich your understanding regarding Asia through more books you can find at the library or on the web.