W. Reginald Wheeler
China and the World War




The list of books given below, with one exception,(44) is that which was awarded the first-prize in a competition conducted in China for the selection of a limited list of the best books on China and its various phases of life and development. The competition was under the direction of an American periodical of the Orient, Millard's Review of the Far East, Shanghai, which announced several prizes for an "authoritative list of books which might serve as a foundation for a library dealing with all phases of Chinese life, art, trade, finance, customs, politics, international relations and history." Later this list was called a " five-foot shelf " of books on China. The competition was judged by Dr. Wu Ting-fang, former Chinese Minister to America, and Premier of China under President Li; Mr. Julean Arnold, American Commercial Attaché, American Legation, Peking; and Dr. F. L. Hawks-Pott, President of St. John's University of Shanghai. On Oct. 27, 1917, the following list submitted by the writer was awarded first prize. This list is obviously an introductory one; it could be easily expanded to twice its present proportions; on the other hand, it is difficult to reduce it without losing valuable information and a balanced perspective.


1. An Official Guide to Eastern Asia. Vol IV. China: Imperial Japanese Government, Rwys., Tokio --- 1915. Although inaccurate in certain respects, at present the best "Baedeker" of China.

2. The Changing Chinese. " The Conflict of Oriental and Western Cultures in China." E. A. Ross. Century Co., N. Y., 1912. A scientific, sociological view of China and its changes during the past decade. The East as it appears to the Western student.

3. China: An Interpretation. James W. Bashford. Abingdon Press, N. Y., 1916. A general view of present-day China by a competent observer and a missionary-statesman.

4. The Middle Kingdom. S. Wells Williams. 2 Vols. Chas. Scribner's Sons, N. Y., 1882. Revised edition, 1907. A standard work which still holds an authoritative place.


5. Chinese Characteristics. A. H. Smith. Fleming H. Revell Co., N. Y. Fifteenth edition. First published, 1894. An interesting, though not very complimentary, description by a missionary author long resident in China.

6. Village Life in China. A. H. Smith. Fleming H. Revell Co., N. Y., 1899. A more detailed account of village customs by the same author. A standard work, which has passed the "thirteenth thousand" mark.


7. The Ancient History of China, to the end of the Chou Dynasty, 249 B. C. Frederich Hirth, Columbia Univ. Press, N. Y., 1908. Reprinted 1911. The best ancient history of China.

8. A Sketch of Chinese History. F. L. Hawks-Pott. Revised edition, 1915. Kelly & Walsh, Shanghai. The best condensed outline for an introductory study, for one familiar with Chinese names.

9. Outlines of Chinese History. Li Ung-bing. Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1914. A fuller treatment from the viewpoint of a Chinese writer; slightly inaccurate but interesting.

10. China Under the Empress Dowager. J. O. P. Bland and E. Backhouse. Wm. Heineman, London, 1910. Revised edition, 1914. A fascinating description of life in Peking before the days of the Republic, compiled from original documents. The authenticity of one of these documents has of late been questioned, but the book is nevertheless typical and of interest.


11. Intellectual and Political Currents in the Far East. Paul S. Reinsch. Houghton Mifflin Co., N. Y., 1911. A balanced discussion of the subject by the present American Minister.

12. Contemporary Politics in the Far East. Stanley K. Hornbeck. D. Appleton & Co., N. Y., 1916. The clearest and fairest statement of the present situation.

13. Our Eastern Question. Thomas F. Millard. The Century Co., 1916. A strong argument concerning the present and future relations of China, Japan and America.


14. The Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire. H. B. Morse. Longmans, Green & Co., N. Y., 1908. The best general work.

15. The Gilds of China. H. B. Morse. Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1909. A study of these particular organizations.

16. The New Atlas and Commercial Gazetteer of China. North China Daily News & Herald. Shanghai, 1917. "The biggest and best book on the resources of China" (Millard's Review.)


17 .Farmers of Forty Centuries. F. H. King. Macmillan Co., N. Y. Second edition. The most interesting and readable discussion of the subject.


18. Letters of Baron Von Richthofen, 1902. Shanghai. Containing the gist of his standard but untranslated work, China.


19. Richard's Comprehensive Geography of the Chinese Empire. Translated and revised by M. Kennelly, T'usewei Press. Shanghai, 1908.


20. A Yankee on the Yangtze. W. E. Geil. A. C. Armstrong & Son, N. Y., 1904. A well written description of scenes and experiences on this great water-way.


21. The Three Religions of China. W. E. Soothill. Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1913. Oxford lectures by a recognized authority. The best "popular" presentation of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism.

22. The Religion of the Chinese. J. J. M. de Groot. Macmillan, N. Y., 1910. Reprinted 1912. Lectures given at Hartford Seminary. A summary of the contents of his longer work, The Religious Systems of China, 6 volumes, 1892-1910. Emphasis on the animistic religion of the people rather than upon the "three religions" treated above.

23. The Ethics of Confucius. M. M. Dawson, with introduction by Wu Ting-fang. G. P. Putnam Sons, N. Y., 1915. Second impression. The sayings of Confucius and his disciples, arranged according to their original order, with commentary.


24. A History of Chinese Literature. H. A. Giles. Wm. Heineman, London. D. Appleton, N. Y., 1901. "The first attempt in any language to produce a history of Chinese literature."


25. Brief History of Early Chinese Philosophy. D. T. Suzuki. Probsthain & Co., London 1914. A concise treatment by an Oriental scholar of high reputation.

26. L'École Philosophique Moderne de la Chine. Charles de Harlez. Vol. XLIX in Memoirs of the Belgian Academy of Sciences. The only description of the speculative philosophy of Chu Hi and the Sing-Li School.


27. The China Missions Year Book. (Annual) Christian Literature Society, Shanghai. The most up-to-date and complete description of such work.


28. The Chinese System of Public Education. P. W. Kuo. Originally a thesis written at Columbia University. Republished by Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1915. A sketch of the history and present-day problems of education in China.

29. Educational Directory of China. (Annual) Edward Evans & Sons, Shanghai. A manual of detailed information and statistics.


30. Chinese Art. Stephen W. Bushell. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1904. Thrice reprinted. 2nd edition 1914. A general survey of the subject. A standard work.

31. Chinese Pottery and Porcelain. R. L. Hobson, 2 vols. Funk & Wagnalls, N. Y. Cassell & Co., London, 1913. Two volumes with handsome plates and pictures and the fullest and most detailed criticisms.


32. The China Year Book. (Annual) H. T. Montague Bell, & H. G. W. Woodhead. George Routledge Sons, London. E. P. Dutton & Co., N. Y. A valuable reference book.

33. Encyclopedia Sinica. Samuel Couling. Kelly & Walsh, Shanghai, 1917. A very valuable new work on "Things Chinese."


34. Researches into Chinese Superstitions. Henry Doré. Translated by M. Kennelly. T'usewei Press, Shanghai. Thus far, 4 volumes, 1914-1918. The fullest and most accurate description of present customs and superstitions. Profusely illustrated.


35. The Chinese Classics. Original text and English translation by James Legge. 7 volumes. Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, 1893. "The introduction and commentary with the translation make this incomparably the most useful work in its field." (G. F. Moore.)

Three books have appeared since the compilation of this list which the author should like to add to it.


The Development of China. K. S. Latourette. Houghton Mifflin Co., N. Y., 1917. A concise, scholarly history of China, free from burdensome dates and details, with a final chapter on present-day problems and tendencies. The best brief history for the student and general reader.


The Fight for the Republic in China. B. L. Putnam-Weale. Dodd, Mead & Co., N. Y., 1917. A detailed and optimistic account of the development of the Chinese Republic containing all the most important documents and data from 1911 to 1917. Indispensable for the student of that period.


Profiles from China. Eunice Tietjens. Published by Ralph Fletcher Seymour, Chicago, 1917. A collection of sketches in free verse "of people and things seen in the interior." The familiar sights of China are pictured in striking and accurate phrase, in this "most unique volume of verse of the year."

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