Sunday 9 June 2013
Photo, above: Scythian gold belt plaque, 5th-4th century BCE; Western Siberia. See: Hour 3, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present by Christopher I. Beckwith. Note a theory that Gautama Buddha was Scythian; this derives from a Sanskrit text.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy by Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes (1 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy by Toshi Yoshihara and James R. Holmes (2 of 2)
Photo, right: Chinese aircraft carrier employs J-15 Flying Shark Naval Fighter Jet as its principal attack weapon system.
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China [Paperback]  by Behzad Yaghmaian (1 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China [Paperback]  by Behzad Yaghmaian (2 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor (1 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor (2 of 2)
[See graphic at the bottom of this page: Map of Asian and European pre-Mongol powers]
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present by Christopher I. Beckwith (1 of 4)
The first complete history of Central Eurasia from ancient times to the present day, Empires of the Silk Road represents a fundamental rethinking of the origins, history, and significance of this major world region. Christopher Beckwith describes the rise and fall of the great Central Eurasian empires, including those of the Scythians, Attila the Hun, the Turks and Tibetans, and Genghis Khan and the Mongols. In addition, he explains why the heartland of Central Eurasia led the world economically, scientifically, and artistically for many centuries despite invasions by Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, and others. In retelling the story of the Old World from the perspective of Central Eurasia, Beckwith provides a new understanding of the internal and external dynamics of the Central Eurasian states and shows how their people repeatedly revolutionized Eurasian civilization.
Beckwith recounts the Indo-Europeans' migration out of Central Eurasia, their mixture with local peoples, and the resulting development of the Graeco-Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations; he details the basis for the thriving economy of premodern Central Eurasia, the economy's disintegration following the region's partition by the Chinese and Russians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the damaging of Central Eurasian culture by Modernism; and he discusses the significance for world history of the partial reemergence of Central Eurasian nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Empires of the Silk Road places Central Eurasia within a world historical framework and demonstrates why the region is central to understanding the history of civilization.
Christopher I. Beckwith is professor of Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University. His other books include The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia (Princeton).
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present by Christopher I. Beckwith (2 of 4)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present by Christopher I. Beckwith (3 of 4)
"[T]his is no mere survey. Beckwith systematically demolishes the almost universal presumption that the peoples and powers of Inner Asia were typically predatory raiders, and thus supplied themselves by extracting loot and tribute from more settled populations. . . . With his work, there is finally a fitting counterpart to Peter B. Golden's magnificently comprehensive An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples: Ethnogenesis and State Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East, based on Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Latin, and European medieval sources. By reading just two books anyone can now sort out Charlemagne's Avar Ring, the Golden Horde, modern Kazakhs and Uzbeks, ancient Scyths, Borodin's Polovtsian dances (they were Cumans), present-day Turks, Seljuks, Ottomans, early Turks, and Bulghars and Bulgarians, among many less familiar states or nations."--Edward Luttwak, New Republic
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present by Christopher I. Beckwith (4 of 4)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Make Better Capitalists Than We Do. by Loretta Napoleoni (1 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Make Better Capitalists Than We Do. by Loretta Napoleoni (2 of 2)
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Ancient Chinese Warfare by Ralph D. Sawyer (1 of 2)
Military and Intelligence History in China The history of China is a history of warfare. Rarely in its vaunted three thousand year existence was the realm not beset by war, wracked by millenarian rebellions, troubled by cataclysmic upheavals, or plagued by nearby nomadic peoples who swept in from the steppe to raid, plunder, and massacre. The state sporadically embarked on external forays, occasionally so extensive and massive that the central government collapsed and dynasties were overturned. Regional conflicts frequently fractured the tenuous facade of geopolitical unity and the heartland endured several centuries of alien domination and sometime occupation. Yet the persistent image, one consciously manifest even today, has been almost solely that of a pacifically oriented, great civilization unified by enlightened imperial rule and administered by a benign, if overarching, bureaucracy. However, even Ssu-ma Kuang’s great synthetic history, the Tzu-chih T’ung-chien, which encompasses some fifteen hundred years from the Warring States through the T’ang, devotes at least thirty percent of its nearly ten thousand pages to describing clashes and depicting conflict.
Warfare in China was generally massive, prolonged, and guided by rather different tactical principles and concepts than enunciated in Europe. Moreover, contrary to the Western predilection to assume theoretical pronouncements reflect actual practice, a wide dichotomy normally existed between abstract contemplation and real events. (For example, despite hundreds of sieges having destroyed major cities and entire local populations -- not to mention enemy armies, including many that had surrendered -- having been annihilated, Western writers inexplicably continue to proclaim that sieges and urban assaults were proscribed; commanders always fought with a view to preserving the enemy; tactics were based solely on deception; and most egregious of all, that China lacks a martial culture, the civil being esteemed and all aspects of the military disparaged.) The reality of Chinese warfare -- its history, theory, values, practices, wars, battles, commanders, successes and failures -- forms the focus of our works. Intended for a broad range of readers rather than just Sinologists, including military historians, contemporary strategists, analysts, and all those engaged in the equally hostile, albeit normally less lethal commercial realm, they are based on extensive textual and archaeological scholarship while being strongly oriented to technological and command developments.
Picture: Ancient Chinese anthropomorphic battle axe, Shang dynasty; excavated in modern Shangdong in 1956. Axes were used on the battlefield to dispatch prisoners and as a symbol of military command. This axe likely was buried with a rich person.
Except as noted, all translations include lengthy introductions that not only discuss the book and its contents, but set them within the historical context, emphasizing martial concepts and practices while identifying the era’s main figures and influences. Expansive chapter commentaries and widely ranging footnotes on diverse matters of interest to military historians, strategists, and Sinologists are normally provided. All works are a collaborative effort with Mei-jun Lee Sawyer whose efforts are directed to identifying materials of interest, reading in secondary sources, and reviewing the overall contents.
Sunday 9 June 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Ancient Chinese Warfare by Ralph D. Sawyer (2 of 2)
.. .. ..
Hour 1: Shaolin
Hour 2: Painted Veil
Hour 3: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Hour 4: Hero
.. .. ..
Map of Asian and European pre-Mongol powers